Google’s upstart Chrome browser may be getting a hand when it comes to a wider distribution, thanks to a new arrangement that will see it being preinstalled on some Sony Vaio notebooks.
Since release of an early beta version last September, Chrome has gained only a tiny, single-digit share of the overall browser market despite winning some critical acclaim for its speed and security features.
Several updates followed, including the release of Version 4 earlier this month.
Now Google has inked a deal with Sony to distribute Chrome in a move that will see the browser becoming preinstalled on some of the consumer electronic giant’s notebooks.
“Users’ response to Google Chrome has been outstanding, and we’re continuing to explore ways to make Chrome accessible to even more people,” a Google spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com. “We are in the process of testing one such channel with Sony.”
The news marks another new challenge to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer — the dominant Web browser. While IE still controls more than 65 percent share of the market, it’s facing an upsurge in interest in rival browsers that has seen Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and others chipping away at Explorer’s lead. Firefox now holds the No. 2 position, with more than a 20 percent share.
Another recent upset for IE came amid continuing efforts by the makers of competing browsers to lobby for more protections against Internet Explorer, which they claim has an advantage because of its close relationship with Microsoft Windows.
That effort has intensified in months past, which have also seen the European Commission weighing in — prompting Microsoft to signal its willingness to give rival browsers a place in some new Windows installations.
As for Google, the news marks its latest success in working to extend the reach and capabilities of Chrome. As it does with Gmail, Google Apps and certain other services, Google offers a site where users can download “experiments” that are essentially prerelease test applications for Chrome that aren’t yet official releases.
More recently, Google released a 64-bit edition of Chrome for Linux.
Additionally, the company revealed in July that it’s working on a Web-centric operating system based on Chrome.