Google reportedly plans to convince computer makers to pre-install its Chrome Web browser on PCs, a move that would escalate the battle against market leader Internet Explorer from Microsoft.
In addition, Sundar Pichai, Google VP of product management, told The Times that the company planned to launch a major marketing push behind Chrome once Google finished with beta testing and launched the final version in January.
"We will probably do distribution deals," Pichai told the London newspaper. "We could work with an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and have them ship computers with Chrome pre-installed."
If successful, such a strategy could help the company boost use of the browser, which currently stands at less than 1% of Web users. Microsoft has more than 70% of the market, while Mozilla's Firefox has almost 20%. Because browsers are people's windows to the Web, the software is an important avenue for steering users to online services.
Pichai said Google would launch a major push to get its browser before the public, once the software is out of testing mode. "We will throw our weight behind it," he told the newspaper.
Pichai also said that Google planned to launch versions of Chrome for Linux and Apple's Mac OS X in the first half of next year. The current version of Chrome only runs on Windows.
Microsoft plans to ship next year the final version of Internet Explorer 8, which is currently undergoing beta testing. The company said this week the final version could come as early as the first quarter. IE8 includes a number of new features, particularly in the area of privacy.
InformationWeek has done its own breakdown of Google Chrome. Download the report here (registration required).
If you haven't seen Chrome in action yet, take a spin through our Google Chrome image gallery and have a look at the browser that's being touted as a game-changer.