The Google Blog just announced that the Google Pack is getting some new software. The two new additions are Symantec’s Norton Security Scan and PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor Starter Edition. Previously the Google Pack had a 6–month trial of Norton Antivirus and Ad-Aware SE Personal for the two security-related tools.

Google Pack

Google doesn’t acknowledge anything about the removal/switch in software tools, so it is unknown why a change came about. I’m not a big fan of Norton software, but I do like the fact that their new offering doesn’t require any kind of subscription. However, the about page for Norton Security Scan does say:

In the event that Norton Security Scan is removed from the Google Pack, the Norton Security Scan service may be discontinued at Symantec’s discretion at any point in time following six (6) months after the date of such removal. 

As long as the Security Scan remains part of the Google Pack that means there is at least 6–months left of service for the users. That’s not bad, but I would prefer to see Google bundle a free antivirus solution such as Avast or AVG with the Google Pack.

Now that I look back I also noticed that they removed Mozilla Firefox with the Google Toolbar! I am utterly shocked that they removed Firefox from the package since Google has such close ties with Mozilla. Maybe it is because they offer many other ways to download Firefox from Google, but this one was always a no brainer in my opinion. Then I thought to myself that maybe Google recognized that I was visiting the site using Firefox so it didn’t offer that as a download option. I pulled up the Google Pack page in Internet Explorer just to see that Firefox was still an absent option.

Despite my disappointment that Firefox was removed, I thought I would share something that some of you may not have realized. You can actually customize what items are available in the Google Pack that you download. If you want you can include just the Google-related software, such as Google Earth, Picasa, and Google Talk so that it is much faster the next time you have to reinstall it. Unfortunately they don’t let you add in things like Firefox which have previously been removed, but here is a list of all the software you can currently choose from:

As several people have pointed out in the comments below, Firefox is still included in the Google Pack, but since I am using Vista it doesn’t show Firefox in the list of applications. This is because Mozilla has not officially labeled Firefox as Vista-compatible due to a few remaining bugs with the operating system.

Read more: Google Press Release