My rule of thumb with bizarre product launches from companies is that the more bizarre they are, the more likely they were the pet project of the CEO/Founder. That logic was borne out in the announcement of Google Pack (a hodge-podge of one-off, mostly non-Google software), according to an interview with Google’s Marissa Mayer late today in the Wall Street Journal:
[Google vice president Marissa] Mayer said the impetus for Google Pack was the frustration of Google’s two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with installing basic software on new personal computers they purchased.
You just had to know it.
[Update] And apparently Eric Schmidt did know it, but went ahead with it anyway. The following is from the Engadget report on the Google Pack launch:
Eric [Schmidt] says he argued with Larry and Sergey about the need to do Google Pack, but they convinced them it was necessary to make the experience a lot better.