Sony's stable of Vaio laptops will soon come bundled with Google's Chrome browser. It's a major victory for Google, which so far commands just 2.8 percent of the browser market. But it's also a call to arms for the company.
Although Google Chrome is celebrated by consumers who have had a chance to zip around the Web at speeds that are much faster than the competition, the enterprise has yet to see any real value in it. And given the fact that it's still so far from achieving the kind of success Microsoft's Internet Explorer or even Mozilla's Firefox browsers have, it's tough to say Google's deal with Sony will deliver lasting change in the marketplace.
Google Chrome is easily one of the most capable browsers on the Web. It might not have the proprietary-software support Internet Explorer relies on or the add-ons that make Firefox so compelling, but it has speed. In my experience, it's the fastest browser on the market.
It loads pages far more quickly than the competition, thanks to its lightweight design. It also has some nice features, like the listing of recently browsed sites that makes it easy to go back to where I left off. And with such a simple menu system, getting work done takes no time. Chrome is a great browser.
That's especially true for consumers. Google Chrome boasts several features that would make just about home user happy. As mentioned, it has speed and a simple menu system. It has a nice design. It's safe. It's secure. And it provides a far more reliable experience than Internet Explorer.
But Chrome isn't without its faults. One of the browser's biggest issues is that it doesn't have extensions. Firefox has made that a key to its success. Even Opera Software's Opera browser has widgets that enhance its appeal. Chrome also isn't available to Mac OS X users. Granted, that accounts for a very small percentage of the market, but it's a glaring omission, especially as consumers start moving to Apple products.
Regardless, Chrome seems like the perfect fit for Vaio computers. Sony's laptops have, so far, not done enough to appeal to consumer desire. It's still very much a three-company race in the PC market between Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer. Sony's computers are lagging far behind.