Since the Google “Pack” was announced, there has been a general criticism about its utility. Was it folly on Google’s part to make and release the pack? I think not.
Assume that Google is going toe to toe with Microsoft. As Google inexorably builds the core competencies required to do this, it must build up the ability to build and release software to the public. Google started with being a purely web-based offering with no heavy clients required. Clearly this product type only allowed Google to deliver relatively simple web-based applications. Then, with the addition of products like Google Earth, they started offering (internet enabled) client side applications. This enables Google to build up competencies in the production and distribution of heavy client applications. The next logical step is to then build up competencies in how to build up not just the distribution of one piece of software, but an integrated set of software products that provides an overall solution for a broad segment of customers.
Is the Google Pack innovative? No. Does it bundle together a useful and compelling set of software? No. Are any reviewers praising it? I’ve not heard any yet. Will it get many downloads? A few. Did it enable Google to softly build competencies in the delivery of a bundled set of software? Oh yes.