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Sun 8 Jan 2006 04:00 AM

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Google gives away pack of apps

Google is once again widening its reach, only this time by entering the software distribution business. The firm’s newly launched Google Pack Beta is a freely downloadable application bundle that includes a special version of Norton AntiVirus and one of Microsoft’s leading browser competitors in the form of Mozilla’s Firefox product.

Google is once again widening its reach, only this time by entering the software distribution business. The firm’s newly launched Google Pack Beta is a freely downloadable application bundle that includes a special version of Norton AntiVirus and one of Microsoft’s leading browser competitors in the form of Mozilla’s Firefox product.

The aim of the pack, according to Google, is to take the hassle out of downloading, installing, and updating software in as much as users can download and install the entire Google Pack in a few clicks and thereafter the included Google Updater will help users keep these programs fully up-to-date.

Designed specifically for Windows XP users, Google’s Pack contains 64MB of software in total, with many apps the company’s own – namely Google Earth, Desktop, Toolbar for Internet Explorer, the Picasa photo organiser and its new Google Pack Screensaver tool.

The third-party products on offer include Ad-Aware SE Personal, Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar, Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition (which is valid for six months of updates) and Adobe Reader 7.

In premiering Google Pack at the current Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the USA, Google founder Larry Page said: "Having the right software on your PC is as easy as going to the Google homepage." Interested users should head over to www.pack.google.com.

In addition to launching Google Pack Beta, the firm has also now announced deals with media content providers such as CBS and the United States’s National Basketball Association (NBA). This means that users of Google’s recently unveiled video search service will – in the future – be able to pay to download and view CBS shows such as CSI and NBA games online.

Google has also developed its own digital rights management (DRM) system for the service, which will also support rival DRM systems.

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