Mozilla Veteran Speaks Out Against Google over Privacy Issues

Urges users to switch to Bing as their default search engine in Firefox

By on 11 Dec 2009, 11:38 GMT
Google may be getting bigger and bigger, but it looks like it's losing friends on the way. Its relationship with Apple has become very tense these days after years of being very close. Now it looks like Mozilla, another traditional partner for Google may be moving away from the company as well, albeit not officially. Now Asa Dotzle, a Mozilla veteran and one of the people behind the original Firefox project, is lashing out at Google for some comments its CEO Eric Schmidt made and suggesting that maybe people should switch to Bing instead.

The comments were made by Schmidt in a CNBC interview and have gotten a lot of people riled up claiming that it shows Google's lack of interest in the privacy of its users. "I think judgment matters," Schmidt said. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines--including Google--do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."

The first part is what stirred up the most controversy, perhaps rightly so, as it would suggest that those who clamor on about more privacy are the ones that have something to hide and that 'honest' people should have nothing to fear. The truth is, though, that there are plenty of cases where users would very much like to keep things quiet, without necessarily doing something wrong or illegal.

In any case, one of the reactions came from Dotzle who was none too happy with the comments. “That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy. There is no ambiguity, no "out of context" here. Watch the video,” he said. “And here's how you can easily switch Firefox's search from Google to Bing. (Yes, Bing does have a better privacy policy than Google.),” he added linking to the Bing search add-on for Firefox.

The interesting thing here is that Firefox doesn't even include Bing as one of the default search engine options. It does include Google and Yahoo, with Google being the default option in most regions, but Mozilla has a financial relationship with both companies. In fact, the vast majority of the organization's revenue comes from Google for being the default search engine and the default homepage in Firefox.

What's more, Mozilla and Dotzle in particular haven't been shy about attacking Microsoft in the past, both as a browser maker but also its search engine. But, with Google launching its own browser and becoming a huge corporation with what looks like unlimited power and ambition, it may be that Mozilla is starting to ask itself if the search giant isn't turning into Microsoft in its own right.


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Mozilla veteran Urges users to switch to Bing as their default search engine in Firefox
   Mozilla veteran Urges users to switch to Bing as their default search engine in Firefox