I’ve been setting up a new Windows 7 PC and I just installed Google Gears for Firefox. I noticed a new task under Windows Scheduler called GoogleUpdateTaskMachine. It’s set to run at every login and when the computer is idle. I have mixed emotions about this. I think it’s good to keep software up top date and for many people or PCs it may be the way to go. Yet, this is the company that recently deemed the entire web to be malware due to human error so it’s clearly not suitable everywhere.
So, the problem I have is that the updater only runs in stealth mode and updates all Google software at the same time (assuming they have updates). There’s no notifications and no options to delay updates. So I went into the scheduler and disabled the task. When I’m willing to take updates I’ll run it on demand. I’ll probably also write some sort of notification wrapper to put around their program so I can schedule it regularly and not have to remember to do it. But ultimately Google should add the notification ability into the updater itself. Microsoft and Apple do it, so can Google.
Here are screen shots of the task is Windows 7 (click for full size):
I just clicked “disable” to disable the task in the task scheduler.
Google gears is an add-in to Firefox, which has its own update mechanism (that includes warnings and options to delay) yet they saw the need to install their own updater. No argument from me that Google has a lot of smart people working for it and has been hugely successful selling ads. But, they seem to have this attitude that they know what’s best for everyone and we don’t need to know what they’re doing. Scary thought for a company that collects so much information. Of course, I still use GMail, Google Apps and Google search.
Update: I installed Google Chrome and it installed a second copy of the updater and created a second update take, this one in my user profile rather than under program files (Google Chrome installs in the profile also).