November 02, 2007

Something for Nothing

Yesterday Pam linked to a Cnet blogpost
about the connection between Google and Mozilla. Is it a conflict of interest?

Pam's point:

Google, the giant squid of the internet, has its many and far reaching tentacles firmly embedded into a browser previously thought to be pure, open source, free from the manipulations of a large corporation like Microsoft: Firefox. Owned by Mozilla… on paper.

It's time to stop and think about this for a little bit.  Google, which has made itself notorious for working down to "jackbooted thug" status over the last couple of years, automatically makes many people cringe when they hear it is part of any other enterprise.

The Cnet blog post, (originally made assumptions which it has corrected at the bottom of the post), has all the flavor of the "open source" crowd and their distaste for anyone actually... making money... we shouldn't even mention... working for eeeevil corporations. 

The always altruistic open source projects, while they have accomplished much, are dependent upon people giving away their time and effort in coding for the "benefit of all".  A lovely thing, if you are able to support yourself and your family, not to mention have the time outside of the day job that allows you to eat, pay your bills, and pay for computers.  (please note, I do not mean to denigrate them - unlike many open source proponents denigrate commercial software developers. Open source has provided quite a bit of excellent code over the years)

There is also the indisputable fact that most open source, while a good value (free) is seldom as polished and user friendly as commercially produced products.  Regular users like "user friendly" products.  They do not have the time or expertise to figure out how to fix something or even how something needs to run with an extra command or two. That's for geeky people who like getting down and dirty with the code.  It's only fun if that's what you want to do with your time. 

So, here we have Mozilla Firefox, an excellent browser, easy to use, and free of a number of problems IE seems to have.  I like it.  But someone... many someones had to put in all that work to make it as good as it is.  Mozilla has long ago moved away from the true open source - that is the only way it could have evolved to what we have today.  But, as they didn't charge users to download, they have to make money somehow.  Without an influx of cash, the Firefox we have today would not exist.  It's too time consuming and large a project to do for free.

So, they partner with Google.  (gasp) And make money doing it. (double gasp)

Fact: $56 million of the $66 million that Mozilla made in 2006 came from Google. The vast majority of this was due to the fact that Google is the default search engine for queries entered into the Firefox search bar.

While Apple also gets a nice chunk of change from Google for the search bar in its Safari browser, Apple has enough other sources of revenue that it can easily walk away from Google's cash.

Interesting how he automatically assumes  Apple would "walk away" from Google's cash.  On what is the assumption based?  The fact that they have other money?... please!  This is not proof of Apple doing anything of the kind.  It's not logical, it's merely his "wish" - because... by golly Apple could do it if they wanted to!

Here we come to his real problem... He has issues with the Google search toolbar in Firefox!!! That's his big bug-a-boo... that's IT. Not the function of the browser itself, not the rendering of web pages, not the bookmarks or feeds, just the google search toolbar.

He states a number "facts" that have to do with the google toolbar in Firefox as if these are evil incarnate.  There are dark secrets about phishing sites not being blocked on the google search... all revealed to the horror struck world.  *sigh*

Okay, let's get a grip.  This is so ridiculously easy to solve, something the Cnet blog fails to note, I can't believe I have to actually say it...

Go to your favorite search engine...  or or whatever it might be other than google, and DOWNLOAD THEIR TOOLBAR!  Use it instead of the google toolbar provided...

End Of Problem.

If you don't like anything google, then head over to Opera and pay for (oops sorry strike that - Opera used to be a "pay for" product) just download their browser.  As for me, I will live with google toolbar on my browser while I use my toolbar for searching.  If I'm at all worried, I'll go directly to the search engine site.  In the meantime, I do not begrudge Mozilla their cash in hand for creating a very nice browser. 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 05:24 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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