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The Google Browser – Fact or Fiction?

Written By: Pete Crewdson

Last year, both Google and the Mozilla Foundation ‘denied’ rumours of a browser being developed in conjunction with the two companies. However, past and present news would suggest otherwise. Is Google really in the process of creating a new Web Browser? Time to weigh up the evidence…

Speculation towards the Google browser’s production include:

  • Mozilla’s Firefox 1.0 browser including a new homepage upon release – as opposed to the normal Mozilla.org, it’s changed to Google.
  • Mozilla Firefox also including a built in search – With Google as the default.
  • Google’s registration of the domain name ‘GBrowser.com‘ last April.
  • Google’s hiring of former browser developers and engineers from Microsoft and Mozilla.
  • Google hosting “Mozilla Developer Day” on Google campus last year.
  • Bugzilla reports being assigned to employees of Google.
  • Numerous blog entries and reports from people close to Google and the Mozilla Foundation, speculating on the emergence of such features.

Yet, the only definitive argumentation against the idea of a Google browser is the denial by both Mozilla and Google representatives – in interviews late last year.

Is Google hiding production which they don’t feel safe in releasing at pressent – and covering their bases by catagorically denying it? Or is it really all one big coincidence?

Ben Goodger, one of the lead programmers behind Mozilla’s Firefox browser, was employed by Google, Inc. on January 10th 2005 – This follows last years news that Google employed former lead Microsoft Internet Explorer and Access developer Adam Bosworth, and Joe Beda – lead developer for Microsoft’s Longhorn project. They also employed leading Java programmer Joshua Block from Sun Microsystems.

An entry in Ben Goodger’s Mozilla journal reads as follows:

“As of January 10, 2005, my source of income changed from The Mozilla Foundation to Google, Inc. of Mountain View, California. My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged, I will continue doing much the same work as I have described above – with the new goal of successful 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. I’m sure you have many questions. While I will be spending more time at Google, I will work out of the Mozilla Foundation offices regularly as the need arises. For all questions regarding Google, I ask that you contact Google directly, rather than myself.”

Interesting to note is that he announces that he will not be changing roles – but why would Google let him continue production on the Firefox browser, whilst under their empolyment? Speculation would insist upon Google’s purchace of the Mozilla Foundation.

Of course, Google are no strangers to buying companies to help with the production of features that aid in the development of their services – last year they bought out Keyhole – A digital mapping company, Picasa – A company who developed an OS based photo orginisation program, and going further back, Blogger – Now one of the biggest websites on the internet.

Is the Google browser really in the works, or is speculation all it is? Only time will tell.

About the Author

Pete is the owner of the Forfeit The Game Network, Forfeit The Game: A Linkin Park Fansite, and runs the Forfeit The Game Media Weblog – For all the latest Music, TV, Film, Computer and Internet and Sports articles.

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