For the last year, Google's browser market share has been languishing at the roughly under 2 percent it had within the first week of launching a year ago. That's not good news for Google given that it wants people to adopt its announced-but-still-a-gleam-in-the-developers'-eyes operating system that will make Chrome the front end to Linux and focus on netbooks. So it's interesting that the Financial Times learned that the company has made a deal with Sony to distribute Chrome on Vaio PCs.
Google confirmed that Sony PCs carrying Chrome had started to go on sale and said it was in talks for similar deals with other computer makers. It said the arrangement was "experimental" and part of wider efforts to boost distribution, including a deal to make Chrome available to internet users who download the RealPlayer software and the company's first use of television advertising."Experiment" my Aunt Sally -- and I don't even have an Aunt Sally. What the Search King has begun to realize is that its name alone is not enough to predictably draw customers. For example, Google has claimed about 1.5 million businesses as customers of Google Apps, and that includes the free version. Paid subscriptions number in the "hundreds of thousands." The only thing experimental in this arrangement is for Google to see whether it can nail enough deals to put Chrome on the map.
Having Sony as a partner must be a psychological shot in the arm, but in terms of market penetration, well, it's no HP or Dell. Or even an Acer, Lenovo, or Toshiba. Google will need a huge name, not just in terms of brand recognition, but in units sold, for this to make any difference.
Image courtesy of Sony.