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Google Earth 5.0 Silently Changes Update Policy

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the jumping-the-shark dept.

Google 535

mario_grgic writes "Recently announced Google Earth version 5.0 adds interesting new features like images of ocean floors and some detailed images of Mars. But it also brings another unwelcome change for Mac OS X users. Google Software update daemon is installed when the application is launched for the first time. The user is greeted with an uninformative message that does not really explain what is about to happen. After the user accepts, Google Update Agent is downloaded and installed. It updates all Google applications and not just Google Earth. Also, it runs on an unchangeable schedule of its own (instead of, say, only when one of Google's apps is launched), consuming system resources. Worst of all it can not be simply removed, since it is downloaded and installed again once Google Earth is launched. Users really have only two choices: live with it, or uninstall all Google apps. There's a discussion about the updater in this Google Group, including details of a way to disable it (not for the faint of heart). So fellow Slashdotters, has Google crossed the line?"

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535 comments

It's my computer (4, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752607)

And I want to be in control of if it's going to crap or not.

Re:It's my computer (5, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752647)

So don't install Google Earth.

Wow, that was easy!

Re:It's my computer (-1, Redundant)

kingcobra0128 (1131641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752689)

Wow I guess you don't know how to read . "Worst of all it can not be simply removed, since it is downloaded and installed again once Google Earth is launched. Users really have only two choices: live with it, or uninstall all Google apps." I prefer being

Re:It's my computer (5, Funny)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752841)

Wow, I guess you don't know how to read: "So don't install Google Earth."

i.e. don't install it to begin with

New InstallShield does the same sort of update age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753467)

New InstallShield does the same sort of update agent install. It's a very big mess. I had it pop today, seven days after I installed a Turtle Beach driver. It's gone now.

Re:It's my computer (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752845)

I guess you can't read either. Not installing Google Earth means the updater is never installed. You don't have to worry about removing what was never there.

If you don't like their policy, don't use their software. Simple.

Re:It's my computer (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753113)

Wow I guess you don't know how to read . "So don't install Google Earth."

I said nothing about uninstalling.

Re:It's my computer (5, Informative)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753073)

It's modded funny, but it is accurate. If you don't like Google's policy and they won't change it....vote with your feet. I actually uninstalled google earth because of this.

Re:It's my computer (3, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753443)

If you dont want to fight, retreat. If you keep retreating you will lose a war without a single battle being fought, a cowards way to go out.

If a company is acting abusively you need to punish it via the government. If you `vote with your feet they will take away every right you have. Companies should not be able to modify your computer at their discretion, EULA or not.

You want to be in control... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752707)

... so you bought a Mac???

Re:You want to be in control... (5, Insightful)

b96miata (620163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752881)

the troll has a point. Apple is the king of installing background crap on your computer. (well, they are if you use their software on windows, at least)

  Even if you kill apple software updater, no matter how many times I click "no" and "don't ask me again" iTunes still pops up a (@*&(#*&$@(* do you want to update box whenever I start it.

Re:You want to be in control... (4, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753185)

I have you beat. Everytime I close iTunes (without my iPod plugged in even), it decides I didn't really want to do that and opens back up again. I have to camp on the process monitor and premptively kill the process two or three times before it'll stop trying to come back to life.

I've been told an uninstall/reinstall will fix it, but if it does, the problem seems common enough that it only 'does' for a couple of runs.

Re:You want to be in control... (5, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753483)

When this happened to me, it turned out to be another process that was polling iTunes for my currently playing tune. I think it was a chat app.

I'm not saying that's the problem in your case, but it might help you debug.

Re:You want to be in control... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753269)

At least it's every time you start iTunes. What would you think if it popped up at random times when you didn't have iTunes running?

I think it's time to do a find / | grep Google and start deleting.

Re:You want to be in control... (4, Informative)

parkrrrr (30782) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753535)

It does pop up at random times when you don't have iTunes running.

I don't use iTunes. Never have. It's installed on my computer because my wife uses it, but she has her own account. I still get the stupid updater asking if I want to update iTunes and all the cruft that comes with it.

Worse, I use a non-admin account for day-to-day stuff. Even if I did want to update iTunes, the account I'm logged in to doesn't have the privileges to do so. You'd think someone would have thought to check that.

Re:You want to be in control... (3, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753381)

Apple is the king of installing background crap on your computer. (well, they are if you use their software on windows, at least)

Indeed. That's precisely the reason I do not have iTunes or Quicktime installed on my computer (and if somebody really wants to show me a quicktime-format video, I tell them to encode it to something else).

We all know Google runs Windows on all their computers... maybe this is their way of secretly getting back at Apple for all the trouble they've caused our RAM chips.

Re:You want to be in control... (2, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753485)

I do not have iTunes or Quicktime installed on my computer because apparently Windows 2000 is not shiny enough for watching mov files. /me thinks it is drm related

Re:You want to be in control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753391)

Back when iTunes first showed up I tried to see if there was a way to check out the library without installing it on my system, and didn't have any luck. I did not have an iPod, and my computer was Windows, which may be part of why it never let up. I tried uninstalling it several times...the computer finally kicked the bucket before I managed to get rid of the thing. Friends mock me for not wanting an iPod at all, but I can't shake the creepy feeling I got when I saw iTunes sticking its unrelenting tentacles in every available orifice of my computer.

No Google apps for me either, apparently!

Re:It's my computer (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752735)

Right. Updaters are fine, I love them, but I want to be in control, and I want to be able to turn them off if I want to. I should be able to run them when I want to run them, not on their schedule.

(I also would like to choose which applications get the auto-update).

Re:It's my computer (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752847)

You could try turning them off by editing your hosts file.

Not sure about doing only certain applications.

I hope Google reacts to this backlash with changes that make sense to the /. crowd.

Re:It's my computer (4, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753331)

They did fix one thing in this version that several people complained about: GE 4.3 for Linux required a certain processor flag (SSE2) that 32 bit AMD processors don't have. Strangely, they did not require it for the Windows version; I was able to use GE 4.3 on this AMD Sempron without a problem under Windows.

Fortunately, GE 5.0 doesn't require that flag under Linux. I'm glad they fixed it, because I wasn't going to upgrade my desktop computer just to run the latest GE. GE 4.3 Linux requirements update [google.com] .

So it appears the team does listen to feedback. I hope they'll listen to this new concern as well.

Re:It's my computer (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753357)

That or editing your firewall, but that will only block contact with the servers, the update application will still run, and continuously try and establish that connection which could cause a lot of problems.

Re:It's my computer (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753015)

You can turn it off with Lingon [tuppis.com] which is a launchd [wikipedia.org] editor. I would suggest taking this route over trying to just delete all the files. You can probable even change the schedule to only trip every night at 3 am or so. The program may see the config files are gone and just re-install them.

Second, does this 'run constantly in the background' or is it launched like a cron event? For those that don't know, launchd [wikipedia.org] is Apple's replacement for "init, rc, the init.d and rc.d scripts, SystemStarter (Mac OS X), inetd and xinetd, atd, crond and watchdogd". You can set up launchd events for about anything. Launch on startup, launch every X seconds, launch when a folder is changed, etc, etc. I can't imagine that this is actually a daemon but instead just a scheduled event.

Re:It's my computer (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753071)

and users should also be allowed to pick & opt out of any update they want. i hate how Apple Software Update, which comes with the Windows version of iTunes, will keep prompting the user about the same "updates" (often completely unrelated to iTunes or any other application the user has installed) until the user downloads and installs it. if you don't, the update will keep popping up or remain in the notification area/system tray.

just because i want to keep iTunes updated doesn't mean i want to install Safari (how is that an update anyhow?) or Bonjour/Rendezvous. at least now Apple makes an attempt (though a feeble one, as they're still using their "updater" to peddle unrelated & unsolicited software).

Re:It's my computer (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753151)

ack, that should read: "at least now Apple makes an attempt (...) to distinguish updates from new installations."

--that'll learn me not to use the preview button.

Re:It's my computer (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753221)

Those are all related. iTunes uses Safari's (WebKit's) rendering engine and Bonjour. So you would want to update them all if you're using iTunes. Even if you're not using the music store or networking to other iTunes installs, you'd still want to update them for security. I agree they could package it better, though.

Re:It's my computer (5, Informative)

idobi (820896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753283)

Or you can select the "update" you don't want, and go to Tools -> 'Ignore selected updates' and never see it again.

Re:It's my computer (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753301)

As a Linux user who in certain areas might be consider an "advanced" Linux user, I would challenge them to just TRY to do that to me. This makes me want to install Google Earth again just to see how bad it is under Linux and how easy it will be to neuter it.

Obviously, this does not apply to all users or even a large portion of users. Most users I already feel sorry for -- they have no appreciation for what they install on their machines. They are blind to their own blind trust.

Re:It's my computer (2, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753463)

All of which is entirely fair, and should apply equally to iTunes for Windows, which forever wants to keep installing more and more of the MacOS desktop instead of fixing the fact that it's by an order or magnitude (no exaggerating, here, really) the least responsive app on my desktop.

Dang straight. (4, Interesting)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752813)

Exactly so. I also don't want to be disturbed with whatever I'm doing by an updater happily sloshing in data in the background. I love Google Earth, but it's been uninstalled now; I might try killing the updater later with the command line, but can't be bothered right now. Seems to be, the best thing we can do is bombard Google. Send them emails with complaints. They'll get the picture, and I think they'll adjust the code - at least enough to only run when you want it to, or on selected components. Now, this might be part of a bigger plan of theirs (world domination, anyone?), likely to force updates of Chrome and other software, but they usually do listen to public opinion. We just have to make it public, and this /. articls is a good start.

Re:It's my computer (3, Interesting)

kingcobra0128 (1131641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752823)

That is a blow I really enjoy using some applications that Google has produced I didn't want to be forced to install all of them I believe I am going to uninstall all of them. Man what happened to Google did they become Microsoft.

Re:It's my computer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752939)

Periods go at the end of sentences. Otherwise you look like a fucking tool.

Re:It's my computer (4, Insightful)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753457)

Yes indeed. It just strikes me that Google is beginning to show it's true face of an advertising empire that it is, with a technology front to keep our minds from thinking about it too much.

Scary! (1, Interesting)

Unix-Dork (1296705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752617)

I am slowly being more and more convinced that Google will become the "skynet" we are all afriad of!

Re:Scary! (5, Insightful)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753003)

I tend to agree with you, but I think it's a long ways off.

If you look at the economy, we're (potentially) on the verge of a 2nd great depression. That's because the people that ran companies around the great depression are now 1 or 2 generations removed from the people that run the things now. The new people just don't have any concept of the Great Depression, and just see ways to make money, and now we're winding up in a similar boat.

Right now Google is helmed by people that are incredibly smart and chant "don't be evil"... what happens in the 2nd or 3rd generation of management 40 years down the line? Will the montra still be there? I bet not.

disable on mac (5, Insightful)

musikit (716987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752661)

usually when i want to disable anything on mac (dash board, spotlight, etc) i usually change the file permissions to 000. this wont work with google updater?

Big Deal? (0, Troll)

emandres (857332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752665)

I don't see what the big deal is. Apple installs a similar program on Windows systems when you install iTunes. Heck, I still have no idea what Bonjour is. The only real annoyance I find is that it keeps asking me to download Safari whenever I upgrade iTunes.

Re:Big Deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752761)

That annoyed me, too. Finally, I just gave in and let it install Safari because I got to the point where I was tired of unchecking the box next to Safari. Ok, yes, I really got to be too lazy to uncheck the box anymore. I've used Safari once to see what it was like and now it just sits there on my desktop doing nothing. I did use it once to see how my wife's website renders in Safari, but I don't even do that anymore since I'm in Fedora most of the time and Konqueror uses the same engine.

Re:Big Deal? (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752787)

Bonjour is a "discovery service", like the thing in Windows that detects what printers, computers etc. are on your network. It's probably needed for iTunes' media sharing functions.

Re:Big Deal? (3, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753053)

If you get a full install of Bonjour (downloading it from Apple directly instead of getting it with an install of iTunes) it's a fairly nice and useful tool. Unfortunately, the Windows install that comes with iTunes is loboitmized (probably in an effort to avoid complaints, but it's still a shame) and really doesn't do much more than let iTunes share it's library.

Re:Big Deal? (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752893)

The difference is the similiar program on windows, has an Preferences menu item where you can set the 'check for updates' frequency to 'never'.

Mr Stupid Speaks (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753033)

"I don't see what the big deal is" The opening gambit of every ignorant twerp who lacks the empathy to understand other people's concerns.

Re:Big Deal? (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753131)

bonjour is multicast dns + service discovery. The multicast dns part means a computer, printer, etc broadcast their name/ip address to the local intranet (no need to set up a hosts file or dns server). The service discovery part means they can also broadcast a list of services/ports/etc they support. As mentioned, that's how iTunes can identify other computers on your intranet that are sharing music.

Re:Big Deal? (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753155)

Bonjour is the network discovery protocol (DAAP) that makes it so your computer can find and connect networked or wireless speakers, printers, share music libraries and more without having to manually find and type in IP addresses especially when you're on DHCP in your house (which you most likely are). I use it at work to advertise machines with certain services (like distributed computing/compiling) to the network so that I don't have to scan for them. It also gives you great DNS services without needing to configure a DNS server (like P2P for DNS).

Bonjour is one of the reasons networking is so 'easy' on Mac's and even on Linux (if you install it). It's similar to Windows' equivalent of Windows Zeroconfig (Microsoft's Link-local Multicast Name Resolution (LLMNR)) but it adheres to the published and open standards unlike Microsoft implementation which is also the reason that there is only 1 printer at my job that is discovered through Microsoft's protocol and ALL printers (HP Laserjet, Brother and inkjets) are discovered through Bonjour.

Re:Big Deal? (2, Informative)

jd142 (129673) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753291)

On Windows it is really easy to use the msconfig tool and stop things like the itunes updater, google updater, quicktime assistant, acrobat speedup, tkbell(the realplayer app) and a host of others from starting.

Uncheck what you don't want to start. Decide you really like the updater? Go back and click the check box.

No big deal (2, Informative)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752677)

I am using Picasa 3 beta on my imac and have no issues with their updater. Although it came as a surprise to me when it first popped up an alert that a new version was out. Resource usage is minimal (didn't even know it was running - which I guess is the issue some are having.

Re:No big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753387)

Resource usage is minimal [...]

No. Wrong. It exists, therefore resource usage is above zero and it WASTING MY VALUABLE COMPUTRONS. Besides, Google is bigger than I am, therefore they must be evil.

Slightly OT: Obtaining current imagery? (5, Interesting)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752693)

Does anyone have an "in" with somebody at Google Earth or the outfit they contract with to provide the imagery? A large portion of central and northern Arizona hasn't been updated in years i.e. the images are still in low resolution. The reason I ask is that I belong to a Search & Rescue team and we are currently looking for evidence of a downed aircraft reported missing two years ago. However, much of the possible crash area is still way out of date. In general, not having current imagery makes our job more difficult than it should be.

Re:Slightly OT: Obtaining current imagery? (3, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753153)

In general, not having current imagery makes our job more difficult than it should be.

Maybe you should threaten google that you will stop paying them if they don't update the images.

Re:Slightly OT: Obtaining current imagery? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753159)

In general, not having current imagery makes our job more difficult than it should be.

Your interpretation of what a free service owes you is amusing.

Re:Slightly OT: Obtaining current imagery? (0, Redundant)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753209)

In general, not having current imagery makes our job more difficult than it should be.

Maybe you should stop paying Google unless they agree to update the images.

Re:Slightly OT: Obtaining current imagery? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753265)

Does anyone have an "in" with somebody at Google Earth or the outfit they contract with to provide the imagery? A large portion of central and northern Arizona hasn't been updated in years i.e. the images are still in low resolution.

Google Earth buys most of its images on the cheap generally... That is, when an imagery outfit takes photographs under contract they retain the copyright (generally). Every so often they bundle older images up and shop them around at reduced costs, and outfits like Google snap 'em up.
 
 

The reason I ask is that I belong to a Search & Rescue team and we are currently looking for evidence of a downed aircraft reported missing two years ago. However, much of the possible crash area is still way out of date. In general, not having current imagery makes our job more difficult than it should be.

How, exactly? There isn't anything on those images that isn't on USGS topo maps, in fact there is far, far less...

So fellow Slashdotters, has Google crossed the li (4, Insightful)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752699)

YES

Re: So fellow Slashdotters, has Google crossed the (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753235)

I agree. They're now one step closer to being nearly as evil as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and EA, all of which install more intrusive auto updaters that are more annoying to remove, and just reinstall themselves if you do.

Good for an Apple product (-1, Offtopic)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752711)

And running anything by Apple will attempt to install everything else. No, I don't want Bonjour for Windows this time either, thanks.

Isn't this proper behavior on the Mac?

Re:Good for an Apple product (2, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753251)

Actually no, that sort of stuff only seems to happen with Apple's Windows offerings. There's a system-wide software updater on the Mac, kind of like Windows Update, that updates various things. But individual programs like iTunes or whatever won't update themselves or try to download other stuff.

Evil? No. Annoying? Yes! (5, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752731)

I still don't understand why all these companies feel like they need to create their own bloated ecosystem on top of the OS. All the #$%@#! application needs to do is check for an update and link me to its website (even that is not necessary). Adobe is the worst at the this-they have their own $^$#&*$@ file browser, for $@#%'s sake! And their updater nags and doesn't work properly half the time.

I'm not excited to see Google go down this path. If this is cloud computing, I'd rather be from the moon!

Re:Evil? No. Annoying? Yes! (2, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753383)

The problem with 'self-updating' apps is you have to ensure that you never change the way they check for updates or at least always maintain the old paths. If you don't, then that person who only runs the app three times a year is never going to get the update.

On top of that, you now have to maintain this setup for each app you distribute.

Having a 'mother program' which watches over all the apps and downloads updates for them on a regular schedule is a far more stable and reliable way of doing things.

What really needs to happen is these 100+ companies that have enough apps that they think they need to install a background "update" service need to come together to define an open protocol for apps to register with one 'services/daemon/app' so instead of 100 programs all attempting to check for their own programs, you have one service that is covering them all.

Sparkle (4, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752763)

Why on Earth can't they use something like Sparkle [andymatuschak.org] , which is so much less obnoxious - this only warns you when you launch your application, and also self updates if you say yes. If all software started acting like Google Software Update, then we would spend half our day simply closing update windows for software which we haven't used in a month.

It just works. (-1, Flamebait)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752797)

Worst of all it can not be simply removed, since it is downloaded and installed again once Google Earth is launched. Users really have only two choices: live with it, or uninstall all Google apps.

I didn't think Mac Users cared about doing all of that nerdy fine-tuning and tweaking of their system. I thought their mentality was that things like "file control" and "preferences" were for geeks,

So doesn't this fit in with the "It just works" paradigm?

Re:It just works. (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753247)

I didn't think Mac Users cared about doing all of that nerdy fine-tuning and tweaking of their system. I thought their mentality was that things like "file control" and "preferences" were for geeks

Of course there are Mac (and windows) users for whom that is true. However, OS X is a BSD variant, and as such makes a very powerful and very geeky platform for those of us who like it that way. In fact, disabling the Goog's updater by changing its permissions is trivial using chmod. As for "cannot be simply removed", that is false. I can easily remove anything I want in OS X via the terminal. If you want it "simple", use sudo mc F8. :)

I don't trust Google apps (3, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752807)

I would mind this less if Google was known for care in developing its client code. I specifically remember uninstalling Google Desktop last time due to its consumption of system resources and nasty vulnerabilities [hacker.co.il] .

Proprietary OSs need a unified updater. (5, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752843)

I really love the unified update system of the Linux distributions. One process updates all the software.

Right now, I have the following updaters running:
Windows
Adobe
Kapersky (Anti-virus)
Java
Apple

Isn't it time everyone gets on board with 1 system? This way, Apple can't sneak Safari in, we can set a coordinated restore point, and there is only one update user interface.

As software releases become a more fluid experience relying on weekly builds and not annual or semi-annual releases, I think all these updaters are going to eventually create a clusterfuck and a negative user experience if we don't get everyone on the same system.

Re:Proprietary OSs need a unified updater. (3, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752989)

That requires each of the companies you listed to cooperate.

Companies generally don't like to do that.

Re:Proprietary OSs need a unified updater. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753173)

This way, Apple can't sneak Safari in

Except that, to be perfectly fair, they could. If you've got something like Yum/Apt/Smart/Yast then all Apple would do is say "this update also requires on Safari" and you're in a worse situation because you either take Safari or you don't get the update. While it's great to have everything in one place for installs/updates, it's just as liable to include junk you didn't think you wanted/needed if someone sets it up that way.

boohoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752851)

malware on the mac? this is only the start of all things, boys.

Handle it like spyware bundled with an app? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752859)

Change the permissions on its files so it can't run, and can't automatically install.

Could be worse (3, Interesting)

Fear13ss (917494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752875)

I mean, it is disappointing that a company I respect would do something like that. It could be worse, like installing software you didn't already have (yes Apple, I'm talking to you). At the same time, I have a feeling the power of us in the community will prevail and find a way to circumvent this unwanted action. Give us time... Most of the products I love, I stay with for one reason alone, the community. And of course, if enough of us complain on here, maybe Google will hear.

Not for the faint of heart? (4, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752937)

Admittedly, I moved to Mac after 10 years running Linux, but the procedure, cut 'n' pasted below, seems simple enough.

Something like this will do it:

1) Quit all google apps

2) Delete the launchd entries (one or the other files may exist)

        $ sudo rm ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist

        $ sudo rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.google.keystone.agent.plist

2) Delete shared google stuff

        $ rm -rf ~/Library/Application/Support/Google

        $ rm -rf ~/Library/Google

3) Recreate the above folder as "root" to prevent google apps from installing the updater agent code again when re-launched

$ sudo mkdir ~/Library/Google

By changing the ~/Library/Google folder to be owned by root you should avoid going through this shenanigans again. Just check for a /Library/Google too and do the same to it. Don't give google apps your password.

You need Terminal.app experience for those commands. You can use the Finder too.
After recreating an empty ~/Library/Google select File>Get Info. Use the permissions at the bottom to add the "Administrator" with read/write. Change "..(Me)" to read only.

HP's updater (4, Insightful)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752945)

HP is yet another one of those companies that insists on a background process to update printer drivers, etc. I realized one of the last updates fixed a security flaw. I think my next move will be to uninstall the updater altogether, and thus not have to worry about security holes in a freakin' updater.

It used to be every software house insisted on a systray icon, even though it didn't need it.
Now the latest trend are background "updater" processes, even for stuff that doesn't need it(Adobe reader, etc).

Typically there's no indicators of it being installed, and trying to uninstall it is a mystery.

This needs to change. Identify it as malware or something. Anything.

Maybe it's revenge for quicktime (1)

chemosh6969 (632048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752965)

On a windows machine, whenever quicktime it run, it's adds a process to the startup. You can uncheck it in msconfig but if you ever run quicktime again it puts it back.

Re:Maybe it's revenge for quicktime (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753097)

i had this problem I went into the reg and deleted the string now it doesn't come back.

Yes (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752977)

Yes, that's crossed the line. Not just google does it. I know this article is about Mac, but I don't have a Mac. I do come into contact with Windows regularly. Half of the apps you install on Windows, have their own background application for updates. That's stupid. What Windows (and appearantly Mac too, right?) need, is a package management system, like Linux, where the user can, with one simple command, update all his software at once, without needing to run annoying background applications that auto check for updates all the time.

You Still Have A Choice, Right? (3, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752983)

This is a non-story. Google gives you the option of not using their software. It is not like they are trying to sneak it by you, and you can remove it if you realize that you do not like it.

I can understand why the updater runs on its own schedule. If the software updates itself when you aren't using it, then it will be ready to use when you want to use it! I hate it when software checks for an update when I run it, and then download and install the update. Google wants the software to be up to date and start when I use it. Makes sense to me, though I understand your concerns about the auto-update policy if you are concerned about bugs and regressions.

Or you could always block the updater's Internet access with your firewall.

Re:You Still Have A Choice, Right? (1)

rockmuelle (575982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753177)

Agreed that I can just not use the software. But, by giving away a free version of an incredibly expensive to develop piece of software, Google has guaranteed that there will be no competition in the virtual globe market. So, I have no option but to use Google Earth if I want to use virtual globe. (and, yes, I am aware of MS Virtual Eart, NASAs WorldWind, and the others.. they cannot compete with Google Earth anymore... Kinda like MS and Netscape with free browsers...)

For updates on Macs... I use and pay for OS X in part because of the nice auto-update feature. I expect my OS vendor to keep critical software up to date. But, I can also disable the feature if I want. I do not expect or want forced updates from any other piece of software on my computer, free or purchased.

-Chris

Re:You Still Have A Choice, Right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753375)

by giving away a free version of an incredibly expensive to develop piece of software,

Google didn't develop it, it came with a company they purchased, and they've always intended to use it as another advert vector.

It's fine (0, Flamebait)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753031)

It's only happening on macs. And macs are used to being told what to do with out any options. I think Google is just customizing their suite to match other mac suites. Like iTunes http://slashdot.org/articles/08/03/22/1536250.shtml [slashdot.org] its just trying to make the user feel more comfortable by taking away all control. I know to a linux or a pc it makes no sense but to a mac its fine i'm sure.

Re:It's fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753255)

It's not a Mac only thing. I noticed the updater on Windows first. Even when Google apps aren't running my firewall catches the updater trying to go online all the time.

Don't be rude? (4, Interesting)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753035)

I don't know that this rises to the level of "evil." On the other hand, I would call it inconsiderate, self-important, and shoddy workmanship.

funny.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753037)

that sounds like something Apple software would do..

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753039)

So fellow Slashdotters, has Google crossed the line?"

Yes. This proves it: google is officially evil.

Wanker.

Not only on MacOS X... (3, Interesting)

Akardam (186995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753111)

On Windows myself, and I'd just updated to GE5, and found this this morning. Of course, no way to uninstall.

Deleted the service entries under HKLM/System/CCS. Rebooted, removed PF/Google/Updater/*

Removed inherited permissions on Updater and made the folder read-only (never thought I'd be truly thankfull for NTFS).

I totally disagree about this, but GE and GTalk seem to run ok with the above changes.

Re:Not only on MacOS X... (5, Informative)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753369)

FYI, the trick for googleupdate in windows is that it is now an entry in /windows/tasks ... so there is no service to kill, you have to remove the scheduled task.

For windows, too? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753145)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you end up with a GoogleUpdaterService background process running in Windows, too?

Depends (3, Insightful)

sktea (692457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753231)

In principle, YES Google crossed the line, clearly. (Reasons are already espoused in other threads, too tiresome to repeat.) In practice, it probably depends on whether end users perceive a clear change in the performance of their PCs.

If the app isn't visually intrusive and doesn't hork throughput, I would guess most won't care one way or the other. Problem is, if the updater causes problems, the simplest option is to uninstall the software -- and who will reinstall it later?

What ticks me off is that with this choice Google seems to be catering those with a surfeit of bandwidth... I never have enough bandwdith, never; now you want to steal a slice of what little I have for your own purposes? Bad Google, bad, evil Google!

I envision a conversation between two typical users:

"Hey, you seen that new Google Earth? Looks cool."

"Yeah, but if you install it nothing else on your computer will work right."

"Oh, dude... screw that."

This decided the issue for me (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753261)

Saw the message on the install screen, clicked cancel, and I won't install it.

I like Google Updater... (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753267)

I like the Google Updater. It's one less thing I have to remember to update. Until Microsoft and Apple gets it's shit together and provide a unified software update mechanism for all software on the system, you're going to have to get used to this kind of thing. Either that or use Linux.

Outrageous (2, Funny)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753299)

If I were you, I would phone Google and ask for my money back!

Oh wait...

Re:Outrageous (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753441)

What people seem to forget is that it's not how much money you give a company, it's how much money they make from you.

So while we don't pay for it, Google's revenue is from how many people they can say are using there products for advertising.

I won't be updating any Google apps anytime soon.

The Google Update Agent is a pain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753309)

I have one XP box for running Windows software in the house. I only run the PC with Standard User privileges (which takes a lot of work with some apps, Process Monitor can be your friend). I made the mistake of trying Picassa 3 on this machine. It has the same behavior of running Google's updater in the background. Now at random times when my wife tries to view a picture, she is greeted with a "Run Setup As" dialog. Dismissing the dialog causes allows you to preview the picture, but when you close the preview window Picassa starts up. Then after closing Picassa, it restarts itself.
I've reported it to Google a while back, but I'm on the fence as to hacking the updater or removing Picassa altogether.

It is PAYBACK TIME (1)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753395)

Imagine that, as taken from the Apple iTunes/Safari/Quicktime playbook. Sneak in your other software when users update. Who'd thought that?

Yes (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753405)

They have.

Any software application that doesn't let you remove the services, turn of updates, or downloads other applications has crossed the line.

Ideally I would like to be able to easily turn off any software. For example, I would love to right click on my Anti-virus application(AVG Free) and have it completly shut down and remove itself from memory.

yea, they crossed the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753471)

They make the software, so really they can do whatever they want with it. Our choice is to take it as is, or choose not to install it. (Well, there is the 3rd choice of hacking/circumventing it.) Anyway...

So, if Google wants people to use their software, then they've crossed the line from encourage to discourage. It's their software, but I, for one, will not use it now.

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