Saturday, February 09, 2013

CNET Sells Its Soul (and Google irritates)

CNET used to be a pretty reliable download source for a variety of software.  Like many other download sites, it encouraged you to install various toolbars and other crap with each download, but I just unchecked those options and had no problem.  (If I installed every toolbar I'm invited to, my whole screen would be filled with them.)  But now it seems CNET has sold out completely - when you download anything from CNET now it installs the Blekko search bar without warning or advising you in advance.

Now Blekko - a name which sounds like someone throwing up - may or may not be good software, but that's not the point.  I want to select my own software.  It is totally unacceptable and unethical for anyone to install anything on your PC without your prior consent.  I may still look at CNET for its user reviews, but I will never again download anything from there.

I got rid of the Blekko toolbar by uninstalling it via the Control Panel (taking the opportunity to clear out the unwanted Bing toolbar, which had somehow crept into my system earlier, at the same time), but found it had also changed the home page on all my 3 browsers to Blekko search.  Then, having been angry with CNET, I also became annoyed with Google.  I tried to reinstate as my home page, but Google kept detecting my IP location and redirecting me to - something that a Google search tells me is also annoying many others who want to use the version of their chocie.  I sorted this out eventually, but I shouldn't have had to.  Software should do what you tell it to and respect the user's choice, not impose the provider's choices on you.

So, black marks for CNET and to a lesser extent for Google - why don't they go to the version you specify but ask if you want the localised version of the country you access it from? Instead they do it the other way round - take you to the one they think you should want, then offer as an option in inconspicuous grey letters at the bottom right corner.  If I ask for a mango I don't expect to be given a strawberry then asked if I want to switch to a mango.

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