Mike Bazeley of the Mercury News covers the expected new products from Google today.
The Mountain View company is expected to announce plans for an online video store where people can buy a wide array of sports, entertainment and news programming from partners such as CBS and the NBA, a knowledgeable source told the Mercury News.
At the same time, Page is expected to announce the availability of Google Pack, a downloadable package of Google-branded and third-party software, such as a Web browser and a media player, considered essential for most computer users. The availability of the software, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, could diminish Microsoft’s control of the computer desktop, seen by many as a key tool for driving people to use online services.
Mike asked me for my thoughts on Google Pack. I told him that unless they were able to offer something unique – say a full Notorn AntiVirus license for free – there wasn’t much to encourage people to download the “Pack”.
But Andy Beal, a search engine marketing executive, said he is not convinced that many people will bother to download the software package, particularly since most, if not all, of the software is already freely available on the Internet.
“Unless they’re offering something unique in the bundle, I don’t see how they’ll get much from this,” said Beal, president of Fortune Interactive. “Most people will have already downloaded these.”
We also discussed why Google had decided to offer such a strange mix of products, especially as some of them are not owned by Google. My guess is that Google just wants to give Microsoft (another) bloody nose. While only half the software in Google Pack is owned by Google, the other half is most certainly not owned by Microsoft and in many ways the offerings compete with Microsoft. Google knows that it doesn’t necessarily need to win the audience, but can have the same net effect if it can persuade people to stop using Microsoft products – reduction in market share for Microsoft, strengthens Google.
“If they can do that, then they’ve won a small battle because they got you to stop using Microsoft products,” Beal said.