Google’s new browser? – connect the dots

There has been random speculation about Google developiong a new browser and/or acquiring Firefox. It is true that Google has been in acquisition mode. They have acquired Urchin, Zipdash, Applied Semantics, Picasa, Blogger, and satellite imaging company Keyhole, so why not Firefox?

I have no inside information, but I have been following links today that strongly indicate that Google is damn serious about securing permanent control of the leading edge browser technology in Firefox.

Ben Goodger is the lead engineer for Mozilla Firefox.  He announced this in January:

As of January 10, 2005, my source of income changed from The Mozilla Foundation to Google, Inc. of Mountain View, California. My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged, I will continue doing much the same work as I have described above – with the new goal of successful 1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases. I remain devoted full-time to the advancement of Firefox, the Mozilla platform and web browsing in general.

He also announced this in January:

Welcome Darin! I just want to extend a big "Welcome!" to Darin Darin Fisher who joined me at Google this week. 2005 is going to rock!

Darin Fisher wrote this response on January 25, 2005:

Me and the big "G" Following on the heels of Ben’s annoucement yesterday, I thought I’d post that I have joined Google as well. Like Ben, I will still be very much involved with the Mozilla project and community šŸ™‚ Posted by darin

Ben made another announcement on March 28, 2005:

I want to use this opportunity to welcome Brian Ryner to Google! Brian has been one of the most crucial elements to the success of Mozilla software over the past few years,… Great to have you on board!

Now, none of this has been confirmed by Google at the present time, but it’s an old adage that you follow the money to see who is behind something. In this case, following the talent leads me to think that Google will be making an announcement this year that formalizes the Google-Mozilla/Firefox relationship.

If you have not already seen the Flash movie Epic, you should take a few minutes and view the future history of media as conceived by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson, with music by Aaron McLeran. In this movie Google and Amazon (GOOGLEZON ) create a brave new world of media in 2008.

This is one thought-provoking film. Every move Google makes brings this particular future closer.

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0 Responses to Google’s new browser? – connect the dots

  1. Malach says:

    Just one small commment – it’s not possible, as far as I know, for Google to “Aquire” Firefox. They already have rights to take it, alter it, and release those changes to the world – this is what the whole open source thing is about.

    I’m inclined to say that google is doing what they can to both shape and support the growth of the most popular non-Microsoft browser out there – by taking on the leading lights in Firefox development, they’re ensuring the continued life of the project, and ensuring (not that I think they need to) that their voice will be heard admidst the higher echelons of the firefox development team.

    It’s this sort of enlightened self interest that keeps large open source projects alive.

  2. Karen says:

    Fascinating viewpoint of the future in Epic. Thanks for the link.

  3. Malach,

    What you say makes sense. Acquiring open source talent gives a company an inexpensive way of influencing and anticipating the direction an open source project will go. It probably gives more bang for the buck than acquiring a private company and having to handle the inevitable culture clashes and process mis-matches.

  4. Mister Know says:

    Google’s strategy of supporting Firefox development is brilliant. Firefox will smash IE. Google will strongly benefit from its insider status with the group and continue to provide leading edge web solutions (search, mail, maps, shopping, etc.)

    In two years, after the whopping success of this strategy, Google will launch an effort to repeat it — this time with on demand services (games, TV, movies, music, etc.)

    In five years, after the whopping success of Google Services, they will launch an effort to repeat it — this time by supporting an open source operating system.

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