Google unveiled an eccentric collection of programs at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show under the umbrella name Google Pack. It’s described as a free collection of safe and useful software to improve your Windows and online experiences. It doesn’t fulfill that promise.

It makes Google look fallible. Take a look at Paul Thurrott’s comments, which match my own thoughts in most cases. If you installed these programs, you’d wind up with system tray, Quick Launch, and desktop icons cluttering your system; additional startup services and programs running when your computer starts; incessant advertisements to upgrade to paid versions of some of the programs; and a lengthy process to bring the installed programs up to date.

The linked article doesn’t mention it, but the odds are that some of the installed programs would conflict with things that are already installed on your computer, throwing things even more out of kilter.

It brings up the lesson that I will be repeating over and over this year: choose software carefully and do not install anything that is not necessary. The right software is worth any price; the wrong software is too expensive even if it’s free.

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