Dell embraces Google

Deal between the search giant and the PC maker gets Google into new territory. It's a strike against Google rival Microsoft.

Stefanie Olsen Staff writer, CNET News
Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.
Stefanie Olsen
3 min read
Google and Dell have agreed to a first in a series of deals to preinstall Web and desktop search software on the PC maker's computers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference in Las Vegas, Schmidt discussed details of a long-rumored deal between the No. 1 search engine and the No. 1 PC maker, which is a strike against Google rival Microsoft. Under the deal, millions of Dell PCs will be loaded with the Google toolbar for Web and PC search, along with a co-branded home page, before they're shipped to consumers.

Financial details were not disclosed, but Schmidt said the companies will share revenue from search-advertising fees.

"The real reason we do this is for users," Schmidt said. People "turn the Dell machine on, and everything is integrated right there. (This deal) is a turnkey solution for search."

A Dell representative said that the deal will not hamper consumer choice on the Dell desktop, however. "Our motivation is to deliver customers tools that enable them to search and organize information quickly and easily, right out of the box...Dell customers will have the option of choosing Microsoft as their default if they prefer."

The deal covers Dell PCs sold to consumers and certain corporations.

As well as the Dell agreement, Schmidt talked about other coming Google services in a question-and-answer session at the conference.

For example, Google plans to introduce a targeted voice advertising service for Internet radio in the coming months, he said. The company is working to convert technologies for creating radio ads to complement its own advertising platform.

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The Google-Dell alliance During the Goldman Sachs Seventh Annual Internet Conference on Thursday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt breaks down the deal with Dell.

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"Targeted advertising is known to work...There's every reason to think it will for radio," he said.

Google is eyeing other complementary services for advertising. One such service would allow marketers to buy "run of site" promotional packages for itself or for partners' sites, Schmidt said.

The Web company is testing pay-per-call plans, which let marketers advertise in keyword search results and pay only when people call a 1-800-number for the promoted service. "Eventually, we'll roll it out," he said.

The Google-Dell deal comes on the same day Yahoo and eBay announced a three-year marketing deal that effectively combines their resources against rivals Google and Microsoft. Under terms of that agreement, Yahoo will provide graphical and search-related ads to eBay sites. In turn, eBay's PayPal will be the default online payment service on Yahoo.

In answer to a question about competition, Schmidt said eBay isn't a rival but rather a partner that he sees will grow closer to Google in the coming years. eBay will likely grow stronger because of its partnership with Yahoo, he said.

In contrast, Schmidt said he views Microsoft and Yahoo as clear competitors.

To be sure, Yahoo and Microsoft were reportedly vying for search-bar real estate on Dell PCs before Google sealed the deal. Schmidt said that Dell has been testing its software for the last six months.

Still, at least one analyst was largely unimpressed with the Google-Dell agreement.

Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Techworld, said: "It strikes me as a great deal for Dell, as they are basically selling dead space, and a bad deal for Google, as I doubt that they will collect many incremental eyeballs beyond the ones they have now."