Google Bundles Software with WinZip

In a marketing tactic used primarily by spyware and adware companies, Google has begun bundling its Google Toolbar and Desktop Search software with the popular WinZip archive utility. The move comes as Google begins to expand its bundling effort with a number of leading software applications.

WinZip quietly updated its download executable last week, which now weighs in at close to 4MB with the added Google tools. Users are given the opportunity to opt out of installing the Google software on the first WinZip setup screen; by default the tools are installed.

Google Toolbar adds a number of features to Internet Explorer including pop-up blocking, spell checking and Web page translation. Google Desktop Search serves to replace the basic Windows search function with a full-featured utility that indexes e-mail, documents, media, Web history and chats for instant access.

Last month, Google signed a similar bundling deal with DVD software maker InterVideo. RealNetworks also began bundling Google Toolbar with version 10 of Real Player, which prompts users to install the toolbar on the software's first run.

Google did not respond by press time to inquires about whether such a distribution approach could be seen as questionable from a company that boasts its ability to "make money without doing evil."

However, Google has recently faced increased competition by search competitors Microsoft and Yahoo, which offer their own search and toolbar utilities. Microsoft recently launched the final version of its MSN Toolbar Suite with Windows Desktop Search that connects users with MSN services, while adding tabbed browsing capabilities to Internet Explorer.

Unlike its rivals, Google does not have the ability to push its search tools via established software products, such as Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger, that are used daily by millions of consumers. Such a limitation may have prompted Google to seek out third parties, which already have pre-installation agreements with major PC manufacturers such as Dell.

But Google isn't the only company resorting to bundling. Yahoo recently inked a deal to offer its Yahoo! Toolbar with Macromedia Flash and Adobe's Acrobat Reader - both essential downloads for most computer users.

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