License: Freeware (registration required); Professional version is shareware and it's included with the freeware version for a trial period, after that the professional version's features are disabled.
Author: CodeLobster Software
Install: yes, but in the setup process there's a check to choose between portable and classic setup.
Size: about 50 MBytes (about 17 MBytes setup)
Requirement: Windows ME or later
Google Update is a tool that Google installs on a pc when some other Google software is installed, and runs each time Windows starts; it's supposed to update Google software, but a comprehensive description can be found on this blog.
I tagged this article as spyware, because Wikipedia defines it as
Point 4 of Google Earth License Agreement recites:
So, Google Update is certainly installed surreptitiously because while regular software setups show the components that will be installed, the Google Update application is never mentioned during Google Earth setup, and the only mention of something vaguely resemblant to Google Update behaviour is in the License Agreement, that's a good place where to put information which you want that nobody reads: I firmly believe there is no informed consent about Google Update installation. Moreover, it appears that Google collects information about Google software usage through Google Update, still without informed consent (usage information collection is not mentioned in License Agreement either).
So, Google Update is a spyware.
How to get rid of Google Update
- First, kill it by the Task Manager
- Google says it's listed amongst windows applications and in the start menu, where it should be possible to uninstall it, but that was not true on my system
- remove or disable the
GoogleUpdateTaskMachinescheduled task from Control panel, Scheduled Tasks
services.mscand disable the
Google Update Service
- if you use Firefox, go to Tools, Add-ons, Plugins and disable
Google Update(or remove it; maybe if you want to play with the registry, this is its placement:
- finally, if you want to remove it "physically" (metaphorically speaking), you can find the exe in
C:\Program Files\Google\Update\and its subfolders
Once I disabled the scheduled task, the service and Firefox plugin, googleupdate.exe was never launched anymore, neither after launching Google Earth. I'll see if the Google spyware will reappear when I will update Google Earth manually (when a new version will be available).
I hope this helps, and if you still can't get rid of it using these methods, or if you find other places Google Update is hidden, please let me know. I'm curious how deep Google decided to fall.