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Sun and Google tool around together

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Despite what Google-intoxicated hacks would have you believe, Sun and the search engine company have not created a stunning anti-Microsoft alliance. They have not teamed to end Office's dominance. They haven't done vast amounts of business together. No, Sun and Google have paired to promote the Google toolbar as an option when users download Java. Tremble not, Redmond.

Few items generate less excitement than toolbar agendas. These days, however, just attaching the Google name to an event apparently makes it significant. How significant? Well, investors have pushed Sun's shares up from close to $3.80 a share yesterday to $4.22 today just on the hint that the company might actually do something noteworthy with a certain search giant that loves colored balls.

Instead, we're left with this.

"Under the agreement, Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option in its consumer downloads of the Java Runtime Environment on http://java.com. In addition, the companies have agreed to explore opportunities to promote and enhance Sun technologies, like the Java Runtime Environment and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite."

And the Google toolbar isn't even ready for download. It will appear "in weeks if not days", according to Sun's CEO, Scott McNealy.

"We will let everyone know when to go rush the website," he said, during a press conference here at the Computer History Museum. "We will beef it up a little."

The problem, however, is that even Google freaks - the types who would be excited if the ad broker started conducting mandatory, aggressive anal probes under the Fistoogle brand - won't find much to cheer here. They've already got the Google toolbar, and are tooling around like, well, you know.

For its part, Sun already serves up more than 20m downloads of Java per month. Will the availability of the Google toolbar - something already available from Google - make people want to download Java more?

No, this deal centers more around the obvious - marketing.

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