Google Hires Mozilla Firefox Engineer

But the search giant is devoting half of Ben Goodger's time to his role leading the development of the major browser contender to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Google Inc. has hired the lead engineer behind the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, who is splitting his time between the search company and the open-source project.

Ben Goodger, who helped shepherd the Firefox 1.0 release that has dug into Microsoft Corp.s browser dominance, joined Google as a full-time employee earlier this month. While Goodger is a full-time Google employee, Google also is donating half of his time back to the Mozilla Foundation, Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.

"Hes a very solid engineer, and his experience and his skills match Googles interest in products like the Google Toolbar, which enhances the browser experience," Langdon said. "Were very lucky to have him."

Goodger had posted a Weblog note about his employment shift from Mozilla to Google, promising to continue to devote substantial energy to future Firefox versions. For about the past 18 months, Goodger has planned, organized and managed Firefoxs development and has helped in its marketing.

"My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged," Goodger wrote in the post. "I will continue doing much the same work … with the new goal of successful [Version] 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."

News of Google hiring a leader from the Mozilla projects follows widespread speculation last year that Google was working with Mozilla to create its own Web browser.

Those rumors were never substantiated, and Googles top executive has denied them. In a past interview with, Mozilla President Mitchell Baker also denied that Mozilla and Google were working together on a browser.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more of the interview with Baker, click here.

Langdon declined to provide specifics about the types of Google projects for which Goodger will work.

Baker wrote in her own blog posting that Goodgers Firefox role would remain the same. She noted that other Mozilla contributors have moved among various employers while continuing to conduct work for the open-source project.

Other major technology companies also have employees contributing full- and part-time to Mozilla, Baker wrote. They include including IBM, Novell Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Red Hat Inc. and Oracle Corp.

"Ben has been the lead engineer for Mozilla Firefox because of his talents and drive, not because of his employment status with the Mozilla Foundation," she wrote.

In Mozilla parlance, Goodger is a module owner, which in his case means he oversees Firefox engineering. Those serving as Mozilla module owners agree to act in the best interest of Mozilla project and community, Baker wrote.

"Some people have asked if this means that Google has a corporate voice in Mozilla Firefox," Baker wrote. "The answer is no."

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