No Google Love or Firefox 3.5 Final on the Horizon
Article by George Norman
On 17 Mar 2009
There used to be a time when search engine giant Google and the Mozilla Foundation worked beautifully together: one would provide simple and extremely useful online search capability, while the other would provide a safe and fast web browser. Well, this is all a thing of the past now because Google no longer promotes Mozilla’s main product, the Firefox browser. Instead it has a browser of its own to promote: Google Chrome.

In order to understand this matter better, we need to take a look back in time. Google decided to take a stab at creating its own web browser and consequently had to give up on promoting Firefox – the brand new Chrome browser needed to be promoted and gain a larger market share. Google then took things to the next level by kicking Firefox out of the Google Pack (in favor of Chrome, obviously) and by bundling Chrome with RealPlayer.

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It comes as no surprise then that the Mozilla Foundation has come out to announce that it considers moving away from Google – mainly from the revenues generated by the Mountain View search engine giant. This might not be a simple task since Firefox relies on Google for about 88% of its revenues. At the current moment in time, there is a contract in place between the two companies which gives Google’s search engine a default position on the Firefox toolbar. The problem is that the contract will expire in 2011 and Mozilla is not that confident Google will want to renew it – hence the need to move away from Google and find other means of generating revenues.

Mozilla Chair Mitchell Baker comments: “We are physically surrounded by Google. They could breach the contract or they could decide not to renew. There are probably other search engines that would pay us more money. It's not hard to monetize the browser. There have been more opportunities for money than people think.” As a matter of fact, one player did indeed offer Mozilla “a blank check to replace Google”.

Moving on to the next iteration of the Firefox browser, Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 has just been released and Beta 4 is in the works (will be named Firefox 3.5 ). After that Mozilla will take Firefox 3.5 out of Beta and will put out a Release Candidate (RC). That’s all very nice, but one fact remains unchanged: the final version of Firefox 3.1 or 3.5 as it has been renamed, was supposed to be out early this year. It is not, and it will not be for quite some time.

“Firefox 3.5 will be out once we do one more beta and some release candidates. No dates, but probably 2-3 months or so,” said Mozilla Evangelist, Chris Blizzard.



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Google, Chrome
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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