I've been wondering about the real reason behind the just-announced Google Pack, a rather disparate mix of (admittedly good) software programs that are pretty easy to get elsewhere. (As for me, I already have all of those programs that I want, so I'll hold off throwing in my lot with yet another big giant software provider for now.) John Battelle thinks Google likes to poke Microsoft in the eye occasionally, dumb as that may be, but clearly it's more than that. I think Nick Carr nails it: It's all centered around getting something called Google Updater onto as many PCs as possible, so the company can essentially install and update programs at will:

"Updater gives Google an opportunity to counter, to some degree, at least, the advantage that Microsoft holds through its control of the operating system. How well the tactic will work remains to be seen, but it's certainly worth a shot."

Well, maybe, but investors who bid the stock up more than $14 today had better hope they've got bulletproof windows on the Googleplex....

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