Mozilla: No Google Browser in the Works

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-11-09 Print this article Print

A Google Web browser appears less likely as Mozilla's president says the open-source group is not working with the search leader on a browser.

Waiting for a Google browser is becoming more like "Waiting for Godot." Not only has Googles top executive denied that the company is developing a Web browser, but the Mozilla Foundation more recently has quashed speculation that it is working with the search leader. In an interview with ahead of Tuesdays Firefox launch, Mozilla President Mitchell Baker denied rumors that the Mountain View, Calif., foundation was working with Google on a browser based on Firefox or its Gecko rendering engine.
"The code base is open for companies to do what they wish to do, but were not working with Google on a special browser," Baker said. "We are not working on a Google browser."
Click here to read more of eWEEK.coms interview with Baker about Firefox and Mozilla. As an open-source project, Mozillas code base is available to other organizations and companies for building browsers and Web-based applications. Most notably, America Online Inc.s Netscape Communications released its Netscape 7.2 browser based on Mozillas underlying technology. Though it is possible for Google to take the same development approach, Google executives have downplayed reports of a forthcoming browser. According to a report in the Financial Times in late October, Google CEO Eric Schmidt refuted browser rumors. "We are not building a browser," Schmidt said in the report. A Google spokesman on Tuesday corroborated the accuracy of Schmidts statement but declined to discuss the browser speculation further. Much of the speculation about a Google browser arose because of recent Google hires with browser expertise and because Google has registered the domain name Curious eyes turned to Mozilla after Google hosted a Mozilla developer day and after some Mozilla bug reports made reference to Google. Mozilla is planning to refresh its overall application development platform, which includes Gecko and its XUL (XML User Interface Language) for building user interfaces, Mitchell said. Mozilla plans to target the platform to developers wanting to create Web-based applications, which might use browsing capabilities. "Were not thinking…along the lines of co-branded browsers or re-branded browsers so much as this broader set of technology for Web-related applications," Mitchell said, when asked about co-branded browsers. While a co-browser might not be coming from Google and Mozilla, the two organizations have grown a bit closer with the release of Firefox 1.0. Read a review here of Firefox 1.0. In the release, Mozilla changed the default home page to a Firefox-branded version of Googles search page that appears to be hosted at Google also is the default Web-search provider in Firefoxs search toolbar, though users can choose to switch the default or add multiple search providers such as Yahoo Inc. "Given the importance of search, we decided to add search functionality to the start page itself," Baker wrote in her Weblog on Monday. "Google has long been recognized as a leader in search experience and so we chose Google." Baker mentioned that Mozilla could receive additional funding from Firefoxs integrate search features but did not elaborate on how that would occur. Mozilla officials could not be reached to explain the funding. But major search engines such as Google and Yahoo also operate search-based advertising programs and share revenues with partner sites that drive clicks to sponsored-link ads. "We expect to see some funds come to the Foundation as a result of our integrated search," Baker wrote. "Well use any funds that result to help support the Mozilla Foundations non-profit operations." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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