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14 April 2009, 16:57

Google Update open sourced

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Google has open sourced its software installer and auto-updater for Windows, code-named Omaha. The source code is being made available under the Apache License, Google's preferred open source license. The Google Update application for Windows is used by Google to update and install its applications, such as Google Earth and the Chrome web browser. Automatically updating applications provides several benefits, including quickly patching security vulnerabilities in applications, but can also cause raise some concern.

According to the Google Product Management Team, the source code for Omaha is being released to provide transparency and control around the update process. As the process is always running and can't easily be removed, several concerns have been raised in regards to privacy issues and Google hopes that open sourcing the application will ease security fears. Google Update should not be confused with Google Updater, the download and install utility for Google Pack. Google Pack is a collection of Windows software that Google recommends. Google says it intends to rationalise this name confusion at some point in the future.

A developer setup guide is available for those interested in using the software. Developer feedback is welcome in the Omaha Discussion Group.

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