Sony to ship PCs with Google Chrome browser

Google and Sony have announced a deal that will see computers in its VAIO range supplied with Google's Chrome browser pre-installed. This is the first time that Google has agreed such a deal with a major OEM. All VAIO laptops and desktops sold in the US will be supplied with the Chrome browser set to default. Sony claimed that the decision was based on the "quality and functions" of Chrome.

According to the Financial Times, Google is also in talks with other manufacturers about future deals. Google also confirmed that the first Sony VAIO PCs to feature Chrome out of the box have already gone on sale and that the arrangement was "experimental" - although didn't elaborate any further on what that meant. The announcement coincided with the browser's first birthday.

Chrome is reported to have around 30 million active users, placing it at between two and three percent market share, well behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. Google is frustrated with what they see as a lack on interest by the majority of internet users about which browser they use, so they hope by having theirs set as the default on these PCs it will be accepted and unquestioned by the user. "Awareness is shockingly low," Brain Rakowski, the product management director for Chrome told the Financial Times. "It's absolutely a problem that people don't know what a browser is, or how to evaluate one."

However, Mr Rakowski went on to say, "It's not so important everyone uses Google Chrome, it's more important browser technology evolves as fast as it can." This shows Google's belief that Chrome is making an impact by encouraging its rivals to improve and develop their browsers and technology more quickly. For example, one of Chrome's strengths when it first launched was being a lot faster that other browsers, and its competitors have now also tried to speed their browsers up.

In the past, Google has struck deals with computer manufacturers to get their search engine set as the default in Internet Explorer and for PCs to ship with the Google Toolbar pre-installed but this is one of their first efforts to try and spread the Chrome browser to a larger audience. The company have already invested in television advertising for the product and have a deal in place where Chrome is optionally bundled with RealPlayer software.

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