Why is Google Toolbar bundled with everything?
September 4, 2007 2:33 AM   Subscribe

Why do many standard software tools (such as Skype or Acrobat Reader) offer to install Google Toolbar upon installation?

Skype, Acrobat Reader, and various other common pieces of software all offer to install the Google Toolbar during their installation process. Why is this? What's in it for Skype / Adobe / etc? Does Google pay them for this?
posted by hAndrew to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I'm pretty sure that Google pays the publishers, or that it's a reverse deal for having their apps in Google Pack.

Here's a list of what Google will pay you if you get people to install some of their stuff.

I find the whole program rather annoying, since the only instances of such ads I have seen so far is people placing ads for "Firefox 3.0" or the like to gain Pack referrals.
posted by themel at 2:45 AM on September 4, 2007

Best answer: That is correct. Any of the items in the Google Pack pays $2 per install.

From the Google AdSense Referrals page...

"Give your users the power of Google on their desktop PCs. Google Pack provides a single installer for many essential PC applications from Google and other trusted partners. These applications improve your browsing with increased speed and security, provide better searching capability for the web and for your own PC and enable you to collect and organize your personal data, including photos. Visit the Google Pack website.

Google Pack referrals will only be visible to users located in certain countries. A Firefox referral button will be displayed to all other users.

When a user downloads and installs at least one component of Google Pack through your referral, we'll credit your account with up to $2.00"

This is a bit different from the contract with Skype and Adobe, but it's the same premise.
posted by stuboo at 5:34 AM on September 4, 2007

Best answer: Google Toolbar is included in other software installs because Google pays those companies to bundle it. This kind of bundling is pretty common; eBay and Yahoo both do it for their toolbars, too. They all do it because they make ad revenue off of the toolbar users.

I'm not wild about the bundling either, but at least the Google, Yahoo, and eBay toolbars are somewhat useful and behave ethically. A few years ago it was popular to have sleazy advertising spyware bundled with apps, in some cases stuff that was criminally deceitful and impossible to uninstall. That seems to be dying down now.

Note that the linked ratesheet is but one possible arrangement. Big bundling deals like Skype or Acrobat Reader are presumably negotiated separately.
posted by Nelson at 5:46 AM on September 4, 2007

Why? Because Google is dipping its toe in the waters of Evil.

I've said before that I thought it would take about ten years from IPO for Google to become just another big evil corporation; early indications are that they're on track. Enjoy them while they're still OK.
posted by flabdablet at 7:25 AM on September 4, 2007

Yes, Google pays for search engine referrals. For example, "the Mozilla Foundation earned over $50 million in search engine ad revenue in 2005, mostly from Google." And "Apple is currently generating about $2 million per month from Safari’s Google integration."

Both quotes from John Gruber's WWDC 2007 Keynote News.
posted by medpt at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2007

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