Lee Odden

Google Pack – A User Data Bonanza

Lee Odden     Google, Marketing Industry News

I noticed this morning a link on Google’s home page to Google Pack, a collection of “essentials to make your PC just work.”

Google Pack includes:

  • Google Earth
  • Google Desktop
  • Picasa Photo organizer
  • Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
  • Google Pack Screensaver
  • Google Talk

Additional Software:

  • Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
  • Ad-Aware SE Personal
  • Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition
  • Adobe Reader 7
  • RealPlayer
  • Trillian Instant Messenger
  • Gallery Player

Google Pack also comes with an updater program that will keep all the software in the Google Pack current and it works with the programs you already have installed.

Google blog has says Google Pack is:

a one-stop software package that helps you discover, install, and maintain a wide range of essential PC programs. It’s yours today – and it’s something we hope you find to be painless, easy, and even fun (if computer setup can ever be called that). And it’s free.

At first I approach things like this from Google with the same skepticism as I used to view Microsoft’s software offerings or freebies. But in the end, that skepticism often gives way to indifference because the tools are useful and in most cases do not cause any ill effects.

I think most experienced SEOs are pretty confident that Google is currently using user data from Google made or partner desktop applications in it’s process of ranking web pages. There’s no reason to think that’s not the case with Google Pack. My biggest question is: Does user data really help rank web pages better? Or is Google still figuring that out?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Why would google bundle Trillian Instant Messenger? Seems strange to allow a competitor to there google talk service.

  2. That’s a good question Brian. Maybe Google doesn’t have big plans for Google Talk, or maybe they have their eye on Trillian.

  3. Seems like either from my location that thing is supposed to be different or they have removed half the stuff since this was posted… This is what I see listed in the pack:

    Google Earth
    Google Desktop
    Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
    Google Pack Screensaver
    Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
    Ad-Aware SE Personal
    Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition
    Adobe Reader 7

    I wouldn’t be surprized if it is even personalized based on my search history or something….

  4. IrishWonder, that’s interesting. When I view http://pack.google.com/ I see everything. Hmmm

  5. Hi,
    I was wondering what your thoughts are regarding the privacy concerns that are raised by Google’s interception of user-data, which results from simply the deployment of these various Google applications. I do not need relevant search results as much as I need to be assured that Big Brother will never have access to both my surfing habits as well as the content of the emails I might send using Gmail. Furthermore, are the extensions provided by Firefox contributers an effective method to prevent Google from intercepting my user-data. I thank you in advance for your answer, because at this point I am reticent to even use the Google toolbar.

  6. Hi Russell, I cannot report hard date – I don’t think anyone can but Google. However – the use of user data was included in the Google patent broken down over at SEOMoz, so to be sure, Google is thinking about it.

    I’ve also heard from sources I trust that some type of user data is involved with current ranking methodology.

    But neither of those things are provable hard facts. I think users just need to use their common sense when deciding to use desktop search and toolbar applications.


  7. Thanks for the Response,

    If I could probe a little further, and I realize that any response would be speculative, I wonder if you think that the Justice Department in its recent attempt to obtain search information from Google and so forth is really concerned with children accessing pornography as much as they are attempting to establish the legal precident, enabling them to acquired user-data that is stored by the major search engines? With the recent disclosure of the merger of the NSA with AT&T, forming NSAT&T, I am becoming rather disconcerted over privacy issues with respect to the use of electronic communications.

  8. Another great question Russell and one best answered by the DOJ. Only they know their true intentions.


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