Google and Sun Microsystems have unveiled a partnership to distribute the Google toolbar with the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
But the pair stopped short of revealing any future plans to bring Sun applications such as the StarOffice productivity suite to the Web through Google services.
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, and Sun chairman and CEO, Scott McNealy, said the deal would start with the marriage of the Google desktop and Java, and expand in any number of directions.
Sun plans to make a version of the JRE including the Google toolbar available in the next 30 days.
"We want to leverage the network economics [with] a very strategic partnership to promote the Java Runtime Environment and the Google toolbar," McNealy said.
"Going forward there's lots more we can do... This is a very natural partnership."
While a press statement said Google was also exploring options to expand distribution of OpenOffice.org - the open-source suite on which Sun's StarOffice is built - executives would not elaborate on how this would be done.
Sun and Google also declined to admit their union was designed to compete better with Microsoft, a chief rival of both companies.
"All $US2.2 billion of our R&D [investment] has some applicability to somehow make the Google experience better, or we wouldn't be doing [the partnership]," McNealy said.
"We can only talk about what we're talking about now. There is a lot of conversation and cross-pollination [between us], and we expect more to come."
An IDC research vice-president, Jean Bozman, said she expected the software distribution deal unveiled to be just the tip of the iceberg for the companies.
McNealy hinted that partnering with Google was a clear statement that Sun plans to provide infrastructure to offer customers applications as services the way some of its existing customers already do.
"We've made some progress with software-as-services companies such as Salesforce.com," he said. "What better way to make a statement than to partner with Google, the leader of Web services."