I couldn't quite grok what Google Pack was about.
A bunch of software I already have, in a bundle?
Charlene Li gave me one angle on it: Google Pack's real innovation is Updater.
The point being, sure it delivers stuff I already have now, but as soon as they come out with Google Telepathic GUI, they can push it out to every Google Pack machine.
And in another way it's about taking very cool Google stuff that was scattered across many sites that weren't linked together, and putting it all in one place. In particular of course they want their toolbar and desktop, so that they can watch where you're surfing.
And then I was thinking that maybe it was partly about securing computers, not just because that's a good idea and improves the computer experience and the Internet traffic in general, but particularly because adware and clickspam and other malware things that get on people's computers screw up Google's clickstats and clickstreams.
These both have a problem. The problem is the Tyranny of the Defaults.
Most people get their computer, turn it on, plug it in, and that's it.
Comes with IE by default - then IE is the Internet.
Comes with security off by default - then security will never be enabled.
So anything whatsoever that requires a non-default setting or piece of software has a huge challenge getting marketplace traction. Sure Firefox is neat, but the Default Army doesn't run it. Sure, Yahoo Widgets make a nifty platform, but the Default Army will never install it.
So if you want to get cool stuff on people's computers, you're left with working with the defaults: web page stuff that will work in IE. Apple Dashboard Widgets. Microsoft Gadgets, in live.com now, and running natively in Vista in the future.
So I now think Google Pack is a way of attacking the default config.
I think in Google's Target State, everyone gets Google Pack by default. I'm sure they are working very hard with vendors on this. Then if Google wants to build some hot thing using GoogleJavaWrench, they can just push that out with the Google Pack updates.