Those who have been around long enough will probably remember a time when Netscape dominated the browser market in terms of usage, only to lose most of that share to Internet Explorer during the browser war in the late 1990s. But how did Microsoft pulled it off? Simple, by pre-installing its software and having it ready to go with every copy of Windows sold.

Now it seems Google is mulling a similar scheme with their browser, Google Chrome, in a move that could significantly boost their presence in search and also put some of their web based apps in front of new users. According to Google VP of Product Management, Sundar Pichai, the browser's beta period will end in January after which the company “will probably do distribution deals” with OEMs.

With Microsoft not expected to release IE8 until sometime in the first quarter of 2009 and its browser share slipping lately, now might be just the right time for Chrome to strike – and securing pre-installation deals could be the way to go. Of course, Google must also go against Mozilla and Apple who have been steadily growing a strong presence in the market.