The Safari Installer, Nay Updater

There’s been a bit of a huff the last few days over the fact that Apple has dropped Safari into its Windows “updater” even if Safari wasn’t previously installed. From the moment I heard about it, I was bothered by it, but it’s taken some time for me to figure out how to articulate why I don’t like it. I’m still not sure I’ve succeeded in doing so, but I was just reading this article at downloadsquad and decided that I needed to try in the interests of timeliness even if I’m not quite ready.

A number of folks, including Ian Dumych of the downloadsquad, are opining that this is not a big deal since Apple doesn’t install the browser by default. I get that, and certainly it mitigates any complaints, but there’s still something that bothers me. It feels underhanded. It feels like they’re trying to sneak something past me. It feels like the days before I switched to Foxit Reader, when an Acrobat Reader update would pop up only to offer one actual Acrobat update amid a slew of toolbars and other utility services.

No, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, Safari is a good browser. No, they’re not installing by default. Yes, other companies are more pushy. Does that make it okay to be even a little pushy? I don’t think so. A lot of folks are already afraid of spyware, malware and, at least to some extent, software in general, and not entirely without reason. When something unexpected pops up on their screen, it tweaks their Spidey sense.

Quite simply, it’s a trust issue. There’s absolutely no need to give people a reason to think they’re being used or even gamed. Want a better adoption rate? Increase the marketing budget. Don’t start throwing stuff I’m not using in my update list. It feels underhanded and it feeds and amplifies any mistrust users may already feel towards technology as a whole.

Let’s not make this bigger than it is, but let’s not dismiss it all together, either. If it doesn’t feel right then on at least some level, it’s probably not.

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