The idea of bundling software has been around for quite some time. For years AOL links and icons were bundled with just about everything. Here though it was merely icons and links attached to more frivolous applications. The recent trend with Malware force installing itself is much worse. This happening hidden from view, during a regular application's install has angered just about everyone who discovered it. But now companies are targeting the basic applications that make your computer work. They are abusing the trust built up with the fact that you are not likely to pay attention when installing basic applications from reputable companies.
Trust (Defined) -Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
If someone like myself can accidentally install something bundled with an application that I have been using for years, then you can definitely bet on the average user doing it. What is worse is that they may actually think they need it. This can create a social engineering problem. "Old habits Die Hard" they always say. Here companies like Yahoo, Apple and Google create them by bundling their applications with Macromedia Flash, Apple QuickTime, WinZip, Realplayer and Adobe Reader. Sure some of these applications have an opt-out option not to install the unwanted parasite but that is not the point. I simply don't want to worry about this.
The average user is not only plagued by the Spyware epidemic but is now becoming a pawn for all the "legal" companies. They are getting hit from both ends and the sad part is they don't even know it. You expect this sort of thing from the Malware writers. People might even say you expect this from Microsoft. But Yahoo, Apple and especially Google? What happened to the White Knights?
If you want to maintain the trust that you may have worked so long to build up then you need to follow some simple rules:
1. Bundled Software should NEVER be default installed. Instead it should be an option to select.
2. Bundled Software should easily be uninstallable separately from the host application.
Only the Beginning:
From Toolbars to iTunes customer's Harddrives look to become the dumping ground for many more unwanted applications. I mean why stop with Toolbars or a Desktop search application, especially when you can hide behind an opt-out notice? How long before programs of significant size and CPU cycles start winding up on your harddrive? The kicker being they were all installed "legally", only this time it is YOUR fault for not paying attention.