Editor's Note: For better or worse, this will encourage those who claim that Google has a monopoly.

(AP) -- Sony Corp. is giving Google Inc.'s fledgling Web browser a boost by installing it on new computers.

Google spokesman Eitan Bencuya, confirming the deal Tuesday, said Chrome has been shipping on Sony devices since earlier this summer. Sony is the first PC maker to sell computers with Chrome pre-installed.

Bencuya would not say whether Chrome is set as the default browser on those machines, as was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

"Users' response to Google Chrome has been outstanding, and we're continuing to explore ways to make Chrome accessible to even more people," Bencuya said in an e-mailed statement. "We are in the process of testing one such channel with Sony."

Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer is the most widely used Web browser in the world; the distant No. 2, Mozilla's Firefox, is gaining in popularity. Google's Web browser launched in 2008 and commands only a sliver of the browser market.

Distribution deals such as this could help Google win over consumers who think of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company only in terms of its Web search dominance. Google has also built a smart phone operating system and is now working on a free PC system to challenge Microsoft's Windows.

But it's not clear how much this particular deal with Sony can help improve Google's standing. Sony's PC business is too small to be counted on lists by industry research groups IDC and Gartner Inc. of the top five computer makers by unit shipments.

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