Google has both refreshed and open sourced its Google Update software, which is code-named Omaha. By making the software available under the open source Apache license, developers working on an auto-updater can use Google's code, which also enables Google to publish updates and plug security holes.
"Omaha allows us to add features seamlessly and address any bugs or security problems, all without concern that these updates will disrupt our users," wrote Myles Jordan of Google's software engineering team in a blog post on Friday. "Omaha allowed us to ship 12 versions of Chrome beta in 4 months, without requiring Chrome users to work hard to keep their browsers up to date. Such behavior is very useful for new features, but essential for security vulnerabilities."
Jordan explained that Google products, including Chrome and Google Earth, all use Google update as a shared infrastructure for keeping products up to date on users' PCs.
Sharing the source code will also provide transparency and give users more control over the whole process, Jordan wrote, since Google Update runs behind the scenes on a user PC and there is no easy way to stop it.
"Obviously, we understand that not everyone is both willing and able to read through our code, but we hope that those of you who do will confirm for the rest that Google Update's functionality serves well to keep your software up to date," Jordan added.
Google made the Omaha source code available here as of late last week.