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Why Google’s Software Update Tool Is Evil

http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/why-googles-sof.html
The recently released desktop app Google Earth 5 contained a little surprise for many Mac OS X users — it installed Google’s automated Update Engine without clearly asking. Worse, the latest version of Google Earth won’t work without the Update Engine running in the background. We mentioned the new update policy in our initial review, but given Google’s lack of transparency, or what users perceive as a lack of transparency about the update, it bears a closer look. Sneaking an auto-updater into a software package without clearly pointing it out during the installation process is a bad idea, one that Google has promised to change with a new, more informative splash screen. But, offering no way to turn the update software off is downright evil, according to many upset users in the Google Earth Group. Most of us have dozens of applications installed on our PCs, many of which check for updates when the application is active. So why does the Google Updater have to run all the time in the background? Wil Shipley, a longtime Mac developer and author of the award-winning Delicious Library, says, “This is a classic case of designing like a computer scientist instead of like a user: ‘Well, it seems cleaner architecturally for us to have a central update server, instead of the same update module in each program the user runs!'”
…this approaches Microsoft levels of douchebagery.


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February 13, 2009 - Posted by | Net Neutrality, Web 2.0

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