Google Update, regularly scheduled

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Client software products have unique challenges, with one of the important challenges being keeping the product up to date. Deploying critical security fixes in a timely and effective manner is one key way that we help keep users secure. Another benefit is that cool new features get deployed and adopted quickly. Google Update is the shared updating infrastructure used by Google Chrome, Google Earth and other Google software that runs on PCs to keep our products up to date on users' computers.

A couple of months ago we released the Google Update source code to give users and developers transparency into our update mechanism. One month later, we released Update Controls that allowed network administrators and advanced users the ability to control the installation and updating of Google products via Google Update.

We hope to help address concerns users have voiced around Google Update running as a continuous process. Until now, Google Update would always run in the background, functioning primarily as a reliable scheduler performing update checks at periodic time intervals. With today's release, Google Update now uses the Windows Task Scheduler to only run at periodic intervals. We have worked hard to ensure that automatic updates work just as reliably, and that our users are just as safe and secure as before.

There are a couple of details that we want to mention. First, in a very small number of cases when Google Update determines that the Windows Task Scheduler or Service mechanisms are not working as expected, we have added in fallback mechanisms that cause Google Update to begin running as a continuous process again to ensure users are still receiving updates to their Google software. Second, if you opted in to sending anonymous usage statistics and crash reports to Google for a particular Google application, we will run a process in the background called GoogleCrashHandler.exe. GoogleCrashHandler.exe is responsible for reporting crashes to Google when they occur in your Google product.

by S. Ganesh, Google Update Team