When consumers boot up their new Dell desktops and notebooks next week, they will find a Google homepage and search tools, not the familiar Microsoft versions, the world's largest PC vendor confirmed yesterday.

Dell will factory-install the Google desktop, toolbar, search engine and homepage on desktops and notebooks shipping to consumers and small and medium-size businesses worldwide, said Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn.

It will also be installed on certain enterprise systems, unless the buyer specifies its own corporate software tools. Dell will begin shipping the new configuration by the end of May.

"We've reached an agreement to include Google's search and organisation capabilities on our systems. Customers will still have the option to choose another search tool," Blackburn said.

The Microsoft versions of those tools will still be installed on the PCs, but they will not boot up automatically unless a user changes his default settings. Dell also pre-installs software such as office productivity, internet connectivity and security tools, depending on customer requirements.

Dell did not disclose the terms of the agreement, which had been rumoured as long ago as February.