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Firefox Lead Now Working For Google 457

zmarties writes "In a very low key announcement on his blog, Ben Goodger, lead developer for Firefox, has announce that effective from a couple of weeks ago, he has become a Google employee. In practice his day to day job won't change that much, in that he will still lead Firefox through its forthcoming releases, but with Google paying his wages, we can be sure that new and interesting overlap between the Mozilla Foundation's browsers and Google's services are sure to develop."
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Firefox Lead Now Working For Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:51PM (#11461946)
    About all the press coverage Blake Ross has been getting for Firefox... ABC, Wired, the Playgirl spread, etc.
  • by Cyn ( 50070 ) <cyn.cyn@org> on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:52PM (#11461969) Homepage
    ... that Firefox was due for another name change.

    (yes, I know it's just the lead - laugh.)
  • by sharkfish ( 54213 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:52PM (#11461970)
    really does pay off!
  • I'm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spytap ( 143526 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:53PM (#11461977)
    I'm not sure how to think about this. To be fair, I use both quite extensively, and I love the Google search toolbar in Firefox, but I can't help wonder about any conflicts of interest that may arise...

    I trust both companies...but have learned that in computer technology, trust can only be trusted so far...
    • Re:I'm... (Score:3, Informative)

      by SimplexO ( 537908 )
      Without you knowing it, several of the people employed to work on Firefox 1.0 (and have been working for a long time) recieve paychecks with other companies such as Rracle, Red Had, and IBM.

      It's like Google is 'sponsoring' a worker for the Mozilla Foundation, like you used to do to raise money when you were a kid.
    • You mean..... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      The amazing fact that, in future releases, all links to Altavista, Yahoo search, Lycos, Excite, etc, will amazingly redirect to Google...
  • Ben's at Google and Dave Hyatt's at Apple - this must be good news.. but will Google release a browser? I doubt it.
    • Re:So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by etymxris ( 121288 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:59PM (#11462062)
      but will Google release a browser?
      I don't think Google wants or needs a browser. What they do need though is to keep MS honest. It is incredibly easy for MS to integrate MSN search with their web browser. If MS wants people using IE to also use MSN search, all they have to do is not be so incredibly bad that people look elsewhere. The criterion is a bit different if MS is trying to get FireFox users to use MSN search. Then they actually have to be better than everyone else. Google might not be able to beat MS on the first criterion, but they can certainly beat MS on merit.

      So the more FireFox users there are, the more Google users there are. I don't see anything mysterious about this move by Google. It's really in their financial interest, and not just because of the PR.
      • Re:So.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cyfer2000 ( 548592 )

        google may want to establish browser based applications eventually. The gmail, google suggest [google.com] and blogspot [blogspot.com] are examples of browser based applications.

        Some people may want to say, "Ah... the javascript is so slow!" But if we can run perl on a headless server and handle thousands or even millions of request per day, why can't we run javascript applications on client side efficiently?

        But what the advantage? The advantage is easy management and share of data. Instead of store files on different computers, dat

  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:53PM (#11461980) Homepage Journal
    Look what happened to Transmeta after they "sponsored" Linus.
  • Yea, it's been here on slashdot before, the infamous Google Web Browser, based on Firefox...

    bla bla bla.

    Ben + Google = Firefox?

    For some reason, I think Google will be playing more of a role like SUN, IBM, or RedHat...

    rather than try to be an other Netscape.
  • Infiltration (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hyksos ( 595814 )
    Wow, Google is everywhere nowadays. I really hope they won't go all "evil corporation" on us.
  • Well congrats to Ben. All the best at Google. But I do wonder how Firefox could be MORE integrated with Goggle?

    I mean.. you start it up.. you have google at the top right, and if you use the default home page, you will link to the google search engine. There are google toolbar plugins available. What else can there be?

    Should be interesting to see what they come up with...

    • > Well congrats to Ben. All the best at Google. But I do wonder how Firefox could be MORE integrated with Google?
      >I mean.. you start it up.. you have google at the top right, and if you use the default home page, you will link to the google search engine. There are google toolbar plugins available. What else can there be?

      He could tell us we must search in russian [google.com]?

    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:05PM (#11462159) Homepage Journal
      How about interesting XUL based interfaes for GMail, Froogle, Orkut etc. A simple browser detect determines if you have Firefox/Mozilla, and if you do it gives you the XUL version... if not you get the same ordinary version you get now.

      Entirely possible, and could be very cool if done well, but to be honest I see it as unlikely.

  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @06:56PM (#11462028) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure this story will generate a slew of positive responses about Google supporting the Open Source Community, and how Linux is one of the technologies they rely upon. there will be some concern, but not much.

    What I'm wondering, is how would the Slashdot community respond if it were Microsoft doing the hiring, and THEY were promising Ben's day to day tasks wouldn't change much.

    How would people react?

    What would be the theories of WHY Microsoft would be supporting a Firefox developer?

    Let's set aside the arguments about why this is an implausible scenario and the obvious Microsoft bashing and ask, aside from the exceptions above, what would be the reaction to such an announcement?
    • Actually, the story seems to have generated a lot of questions and some open distrust.

      Don't worry. There is a healthy skepticism of all corporations here, not just MS.
    • Microsoft makes the only competing product for Firefox - them hiring him would be absurdly conspicuous. Google, on the other hand, has a competitor in Microsoft, as does Firefox, and if the IE monopoly stays put, then MSN Search as a default in IE may overtake Google in the same way IE as a default in Windows (and, eventually, Mac) overtook Netscape.

      If, however, Google can help make Firefox a heavy player (not that it isn't already), and can also provide to Firefox users more and better integration with Go
    • by Hortensia Patel ( 101296 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:17PM (#11462298)
      This, frankly, is a silly question.

      How would people react if Microsoft were the company in question? They'd be far more hostile. Is this inconsistent or hypocritical? Not in the least.

      Microsoft are fundamentally hostile to the Web. They are fundamentally hostile to standards. They are fundamentally hostile to cross-platform applications. They are fundamentally hostile to Free Software.

      None of these observations applies to Google. So what was your point again?
    • You're obviously trolling.

      For one, Google doesn't compete against firefox, Microsoft does. That alone justifies every conspiracy loony response.

      Second, lets not forget that Microsoft was convicted for illegally maintaining its monopoly.

      Third, Microsoft has a track record for playing dirty, being untrustworthy and valuing unethical behavior.

    • by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <benNO@SPAMint.com> on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:23PM (#11462385) Homepage
      The reaction would probably be a lot more heated, considering that Microsoft is an illegal monopoly, that was found (by a court of law) to have engaged in anti-competitive practices. Google, on the other hand, has not. That isn't Microsoft bashing, it's a legal fact.

      Google and Microsoft are different companies, with different management teams that have different views of how thier companies should be run. It is right and proper that we should treat them differently.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...Firefox has google search built-in. Someone needed a job!
  • Ben Goodger, lead developer for Firefox, ...

    Good-bad-gers? Fire-bad-foxes? I bet Google hired him just so they can use this as a puzzle on their Ph.D. job applicants!

  • So from what I gather, google is collecting every scrap of information about everything. This spans from the basic google websearch to google desktop search and eventually google e-mail searching (searching for anonymous content from within their growing gmail database).

    When google takes over our web browsers, they will also be able to collect info on more than just what we are searching for -- they will know how we are finding desired content.

    Pretty soon google will know everything about everyone.
  • I don't mean to slam Google, but just to go ahead and state the obvious:

    What a great way to influence a project: pay for it.

    Google will really be able to get any pet idea that they have at least brought up as a part of the project.

    This is a very cheap way of touching millions of people. A smart, patient and friendly company should be able to find ways to get their agenda helped, even when their employee is generally remaining "independant".

    And free advertising: BGoodger@google.com at the bottom of ever
  • Oops (Score:5, Funny)

    by bdesham ( 533897 ) <bdesham@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:05PM (#11462157) Journal
    in a very low key announcement
    Not anymore :-)
  • If it's open source then if someone starts adding company specific stuff, or things that the community don't agree with, can't they just be removed by someone else. Or it can be branched so that all the "Google Crap" that someone might add is a seperate development. Isn't that the whole point of OSS? Besides, Google could just employ anyone to contribute to Firefox, it doesn't have to be the "creator", but I can see why that would be useful to them.
  • by marcushnk ( 90744 ) <senectus@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:08PM (#11462194) Journal
    If this isn't a conflict of interest I don't know what is..

    I REALLY hope they stick to the "Do no Evil", because with this sort of move, they have the oppertunity to be either very very _good_ or just as easily be very very _evil_.

    Then again.. its Open Sourced... so if google try anything even slightly askew, the code will be forked or better yet just plain rejected.
  • the Mozillazine story and commentary [mozillazine.org], the SEWatch story [searchenginewatch.com] and the Neowin story [neowin.net].

    No mention from Google on this yet.

  • by skyman8081 ( 681052 ) <<skyman8081> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:09PM (#11462205) Homepage

    I guess Dave Hyatt never did pay the $50 to Ben. So he had to leave for Google.

    Mozilla Bug #52094 "Hyatt should give ben $50" [mozilla.org]
  • Even though I doubt Ben and google would go "evil" on firefox, if the rest of the community didnt like it, they can go fork. Firefox is under an open license. The community can just pick up and leave Ben or whoever and make their own browser on top of whatever they pull from the source library...
  • ./ grammar (Score:2, Informative)

    by utopianfiat ( 774016 )
    Ben Goodger, lead developer for Firefox, has announce that effective from a couple of weeks ago, he has become a Google employee.

    no offense to the poster, but: s/has announce/has announced/
    Grammar is what sets us apart from the script kiddie.
  • He is getting is options at a ridiculous price that will likely be just a memory for many years to come. My advice - wait until it gets below $100 before even thinking of joining. Look at Yahoo - many employees joined at $150 (and falling) when they could have joined at $8...where would you rather have your options priced??? In the case of Yahoo they would have even made up their lost wages by waiting.
  • Sure lots of us associate Firefox with Ben, but just because he's got a job at Google, doesn't mean they hired him so they could 'take over' the browser, or that there's going to be 'overlap.' Many of Mozilla's/Firefox's developers work at other large IT companies (IBM is the first to come to mind) with none of this influence, or speculation of influence.
    Presumably, Ben's work on Firefox will be happening in his personal time, and won't have much to do with Google. I would guess they hired him because h
  • Was the Google Search Box in the upper right hand corner on the installation used here at my state agency.

    I'm not sure if it's a recent addition or not- my ability to run Firefox at work postdates Ben's involvement with Google- but it's just the sort of thing that I'd expect from such a combination.
  • by fname ( 199759 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:30PM (#11462447) Journal
    Firefox's lead developer is now a paid employee of Google. Mostly what they want is a better Firefox that can compete with Explorer, and make the web as a whole more standards compliant. This will decrease people's reliance on Windows, and make the web more of a platform. Google is, so far, the best developer on the web platform.

    And honestly, if the project starts to suck, either Goodger will leave Google and find another sponsor, or the project will fork, and Google's version won't be the one known as Firefox. That would be bad for Google, and render the whole exercise pointless.

    It may be a "conflict of interest," but that doesn't mean it will be bad. Google is an arrogant corporation (not in a bad way), and they think that with a level playing field, they will kick the a** of MS and everybody else. They want Firefox to level the playing field so they can win. The worst possible outcome would be for Firefox to become Google-optimized at the expense of how it works on thee rest of the web; that will hurt Firefox & Google.

    Don't worry who's paying the bills; worry about the code he generates, and be happy that he's being paid to work on Firefox, which simply ensures that he'll continue to work on it.
  • by Codeala ( 235477 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:32PM (#11462477)

    Ben Goodger is "just" the lead developer, not to take anything from his contributions to the Firefox project, but the project will go on even when he work for another employer or "turn evil" as some seems to think.

    The open source model is not a dictatorship, especially on a large project like mozilla/firefox, not one single person has complete control over everything.
    The news of Mr Goodger change of employer is no more shocking than programmers from different countries/companies contribute code to various open source projects. There is no "hidden agenda" or "conflict of interest".

    Anyone that has concern about this, become a developer: http://www.mozilla.org/developer/
  • proof in the pudding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by willCode4Beer.com ( 783783 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:37PM (#11462530) Homepage Journal
    This is an example of an interesting trend.

    Companies are starting to hire people who make a name for themselves while working on open source projects. This makes sense on several levels.

    The developer has proven themselves in an environment where capability is obvious, transparent, and peer reviewed. Try getting that out of a resume. They are hiring a known.
    The company gets to use that person's *fame*/name as a marketing tool.
    The developer is probably more willing to put in the extra hours because they must enjoy coding to spend so much spare time doing it.

    This helps the open source movement a well. If new developers get out and try to earn a name, they'll probably start putting more effort if they think their code might get them a good job. They might take the peer review more seriously.

    as well, I'll keep dreaming...
  • by oboylet ( 660310 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @07:54PM (#11462760)
    This also allows the Mozilla Foundation to redirect what they were spending on his salary. They can hire another code monkey or spend it on just about anything. BenG is one of the old-school Mozilla pros and now another young gun can take his place.

    This is only good news.

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miked378 ( 703173 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @08:07PM (#11462884)
    Not to be naive, but... Just because the guy is working for Google doesn't necessarily mean that Google is now in charge of Firefox. There are plenty of examples of software projects that are not company owned, but in which companies support development, since said companies benefit from both a good product and the karma that comes with supporting good software, especially that they don't own. Furthermore, I doubt too many of us are paid to cruise slashdot, or write the programs we write -- we should wish him the best of luck, and congratulate him on finding somebody to pay him for what he's already doing well!
  • by Everyman ( 197621 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @09:46PM (#11463707) Homepage
    A CSS file can be used in Firefox to block Google's ads. Complete instructions are here [scroogle.org] at the bottom of the page. Google approves if you do this. After all, their toolbar blocks pop-ups. And Firefox has great cookie control. If you don't want to block Google's cookie because you use Gmail or other services that require it, you can turn that 2038 cookie into a session cookie. That way Google gives you a new unique ID with every session, instead of one ID that lasts until 2038.
  • Mozilla Googlebar? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MilenCent ( 219397 ) <johnwh@gmailMONET.com minus painter> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @01:40AM (#11465280) Homepage
    Maybe this mean we'll *finally* get an "official" Mozilla/Firefox Googlebar, complete with Pagerank measurer? It's not like the unofficial one is lacking in features (other than Pagerank), but it's always annoyed me that all Google is willing to support with the official bar is IE.

    Someone else also mentioned Google Desktop Search, which will search through your IE cache in its scan of your hard drive but ignores Firefox's. Google has a bit of catching up to do to support Firefox as well as it does IE with extra features....
  • by jjn1056 ( 85209 ) <jjn1056@yahoo.cTIGERom minus cat> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @02:53AM (#11465623) Homepage Journal
    but with Google paying his wages, we can be sure that new and interesting overlap between the Mozilla Foundation's browsers and Google's services are sure to develop.
    I don't think it's very responsible to say (without some sort of proof) that a person can't put a wall between her/his paying job and personal interests. I would be more inclined to grant more integrity, unless some clear example of impropriety emerges. We should all just be happy, this guy has got a job most of us would probably like to have. I am sure most of the negative posts are hidden envy :)

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