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Google throws weight behind struggling Chromebook

Google is making another push with Chromebook, expanding its availability to over a hundred stores throughout the UK and thousands around the world.

The lightweight, bare-bones laptop - powered by Chrome OS - is already on sale in Dixons, but now 116 Tesco stores will start selling it too.

Google has also inked deals with more than 6,600 stores globally, three times the current total of outlets stocking the devices. This will include roughly 2,800 Walmart stores and over 1,500 Staples stores in the US.

Chromebooks will also launch in Media Markt and Saturn stores in the Netherlands, FNAC stores in France, Elgiganten stores in Sweden, and JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman in Australia. Google said it will expand to more countries later in the year.

Among the models that will be made available are Acer, HP and Samsung devices, including the new Acer Chromebook that comes with a 16GB SSD.

The expansion to numerous more stores is essential if Google is to find any real success with the Chromebook brand, as uptake has been slow. According to a report by NetMarketShare in April, Chrome OS only accounted for a miniscule 0.023 per cent of web traffic. A report by Chitika suggests a different story, however, with Chrome OS market share growing sharply.

Google is hoping to target college students and parents looking to get back-to-school gear in early. The cheap Chromebooks may be an attractive option, though the web requirement might limit their popularity, given that many places, schools especially, lack free and reliable Wi-Fi.

Google is also looking to attract businesses to join the Chromebook craze, making the laptops available through the Staples Advantage B2B programme. It will expand to Office Depot, OfficeMax, Fry's and TigerDirect soon.