Google this past weekend said that it will finalize its Chrome Web browser in January and then seek to boost its user base by seeking distribution deals with PC makers. The news comes on the heels of a OneStat.com Web browser survey suggesting that Chrome has seized only just over one-half of one-percent of the market for Web browsers in use worldwide.

Google vice president Sundar Pichai told UK's The Times that Chrome will be out of beta in January. "We will probably do distribution deals ... with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, or PC makers) and have them ship computers with Chrome pre-installed," he told the publication. "We will throw our weight behind it. We've been conservative because it's still in beta, but once we get it out of beta we will work hard at getting the word out, promoting to users, and marketing will be a part of that."

Pichai added that Mac and Linux versions of the browser would ship in the first half of 2009 as well. The current version runs only on Windows.

According to OneStat.com, Google has a long way to go: Microsoft's IE still dominates the worldwide browser market, with 81 percent usage share in the second half of 2008, compared to 14.7 percent for Mozilla Firefox, 2.4 percent for Apple Safari, and .55 percent for Opera. Google's Chrome managed only .54 percent usage share for the time period. The US numbers are similar, with Chrome snagging just .62 percent usage share.