Sunday, October 21, 2007

Java updates and shovel-ware

I saw the routine "update available" notification this morning, and clicked for more info.  I next saw:

JavaUpdate 

So, if I have a few hundred megabytes of free disk space and need yet another productivity application suite, I can conveniently download OpenOffice.org 2.3 (which, coincidentally, requires a Java runtime environment). Or I could download Google Pack, which includes Sun's enhanced version of OpenOffice.org, StarOffice (list price $70, but available at no cost with Google Pack).

No thanks; I'll just accept the Java update, in order to avoid seeing the "update available" notifications every morning (despite the fact that, with the exception of a couple outlier web conferencing/app sharing services, I very rarely use a Java client app).  But wait, there's more:

JavaGoogle

So... by default, when I accept the free Java runtime environment update, I also install Google Toolbar and Google Desktop (i.e., the checkboxes are clicked by default).

I'd like to know how much Google pays Sun for this; I'd also like to know how much Google pays Adobe for similar "offers" now included with Adobe player and product installation routines (although, IIRC, at least Adobe has an opt-in model).

It's all very effective for Google, in any case -- anyone who has used a Java runtime environment for any reason, and who doesn't read the fine print when installing the update, will contribute to Google's installed base numbers (whether or not they actually ever use Google Toolbar or Google Desktop, in this scenario).

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