Google has hired
the lead programmer of the Firefox Web browser, the
newest step in the search engine powerhouse's encroachment
on Microsoft's turf.
Ben Goodger announced
Monday on his blog that he took a job with Google on Jan.
10. The move is the latest of several that are fueling
speculation that Google plans its own Web browser.
has cut into the dominant market share enjoyed by
Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, is a variant of
the open-source Mozilla browser project begun in 1998
by Netscape Communications. Despite no longer being employed
by the Mozilla Foundation, "my role with Firefox
and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged,"
Goodger said on his blog.
Goodger will continue work on the browser. Since the release
of Firefox 1.0 in 2004, he's been focusing on "successful
1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases," he said on the blog.
Among other clues
pointing to browser interest at Google are the registration
of the gbrowser.com Internet address, the hiring of some
key programmers, and sponsorship of a Mozilla programmer
Even without a browser,
Google is involved in significant competition with Microsoft.
Both companies are working on desktop search tools, and
Microsoft is pushing its MSN Search service as an alternative
Firefox also has
a built-in search box that offers Google's search
engine as its default option.
Goodger himself complained
about Microsoft's software in a December posting on his
"I've set up
a new personal e-mail address, and as soon as I can figure
out how, I will make it so that it cannot receive e-mail
from Microsoft Outlook users. Why? Because Microsoft Outlook
and Outlook Express are the unsung security hole in most
people's systems," the posting said. "Microsoft
would like you to continue not to think about your software
and continue to use theirs, paying what amounts to extortion
fees on ISP filtering solutions."
at Google this month explains a Jan. 22 blog posting
in which he said he had just returned to Firefox 1.1 development
after being "incredibly busy this past two weeks
taking care of some important matters." He indicated
earlier in the month that he hoped the version would be
released in March.
According to the
plans published on the Firefox Wiki page, version
1.1 is called Deer Park. Plans for that new version include
tools to help users of several Mac OS X browsers move
their settings to Firefox. Also being discussed are localization
ideas to make Firefox better able to work in multiple
Version 1.5, called The Ocho, is slated
to get improvements in accessibility and for use on
large groups of computers.
2.0 features include improvements to tabbed browsing,
password management, software updates, software downloads
and performance on Apple Computer systems.
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