According to Beta News, Google representatives have confirmed that the Sony Vaio Line of notebooks will be the first computers to ship with the Google Chrome browser. This partnership offers Google Chrome, which currently has a 2.6% market share amongst browsers, an opportunity to catch up to major competitors like Safari, Opera and Firefox.
As far as we can tell this marks the first time a major manufacturer has bundled an alternative browser with a Windows Based PC. Giving users a choice is a welcome change, and perhaps more people will use Google Chrome because it is on their desktop, but will it matter to the end user?
The Financial Times quotes a product management director for Chrome regarding Google’s motivations for putting the Chrome browser on new computers.
Google executives express frustration at what they consider a lack of interest among internet users about browsers. Awareness is shockingly lowâ€ given how much people rely on browsers, said Mr Rakowski. It’s absolutely a problem that people don’t know what a browser is, or how to evaluate one.â€
Mr. Rakowski and the executives at Google are absolutely correct that most users don’t know about browsers or how to evaluate them, including many otherwise tech savvy users, but won’t these individuals simply go looking for the familiar Internet Explorer icon?
I’d much rather see all computer manufacturers use a ballot similar to the one that Microsoft plans to use on computers in Europe which gives consumers more choice and presents a little more information on each of the choices. In my opinion the success of any browser will rely on one thing; its widespread use by geeks who will install it on the computers of friends and family. This race to the top will be won by recommendations and innovations rather than paid placement on computers.