Junk offender: GOM Player
I caught the Free YouTube Downloader trying to foist an unwanted video-player program called GOM Player on to my PC. That’s unacceptable, of course. But it got me wandering whether GOM Player might actually be a decent program when it’s not pushed on you by someone else’s shifty installer – so I visited its official site (http://player.gomlab.com/?language=eng) and prepared to download the free version myself.
I was in for a shock. Over the course of the installation, the software made not one, but five attempts to get me to install unwanted junk. The first attempt happened before I’d even downloaded the software. Clicking the download link prompted me to install a Chrome extension (see screenshot) that could spy on all the data I’d exchanged with websites and even interfere with that traffic. That’s an extremely dangerous thing to agree to, and it certainly didn’t give me confidence in GOM’s software.
And that wasn’t all. As I clicked through the installation options I was also invited to install two online games – Goodgame Empire and Goodgame Big Farm. These are free to play, but are notorious for seducing you into spending money (that’s real hard-earned money, not throwaway virtual coins). The ‘Accept’ button was, of course, in exactly the right (or is that wrong?) place for me to click through without realising what it was I’d accepted.
Finally, once GOM Player had installed two more windows reared their ugly heads, pushing the Opera browser and Avast Free Antivirus. Again, if you weren’t alive to this, you could easily end up replacing your web browser and antivirus with unfamiliar alternatives.
Download GOM Player and you’ll be prompted to install an extension that spies on your data
In the many years I’ve been downloading software, I’ve never come across an installer as pushy as this one. Needless to say, I uninstalled GOM Player sharpish. I don’t want it running on my PC if I can’t trust its publisher. I’ll stick with the free and highly versatile VLC (www.videolan.org), which plays almost anything I throw at it and doesn’t try to load my hard drive with extensions, games, browsers, antivirus and other junk.