Mozilla Endorses Bing Over Google Privacy Issues
Gregg Keizer, Computerworld - Dec 13, 2009
A Mozilla official last week pointed Firefox users to the extension that adds Microsoft's Bing search engine to the list of the browser's search engines after Google's CEO downplayed consumers' privacy concerns.
Citing a clip from a CNBC broadcast last Friday, during which Google chief executive Eric Schmidt discussed online privacy, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, provided a link to the Firefox extension that adds Bing to Firefox's search engine list. "Here's how you can easily switch Firefox's search from Google to Bing," said Dotzler in an entry on his personal blog today. The link he included leads to the Bing search add-on .
During the interview, Schmidt was asked: "People are treating Google like their most trusted friend...should they be?" It was Schmidt's answer that motivated Dotzler to show users how to drop Google, Firefox's default search engine, for rival Bing.
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," Schmidt told CNBC. "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, " added Schmidt.
The CNBC clip with Schmidt's comments can be viewed on YouTube, ironically a Google-owned property.
Dotzler is a 10-year-veteran of Mozilla.
What made Dotzler's touting of Bing interesting is that Mozilla, which has a multi-year deal with Google that ends in 2011, derives the vast bulk of its revenue from the arrangement, which sets Google 's search as the default in the browser and shunts some revenues from ads that Firefox users click on to Mozilla.
According to Mozilla's most-recently- released financial statement ( download PDF ), 97% of its revenues came from deals it has with Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and others. The lion's share of its search engine-based income, however, originated from Google.
Firefox Exec Rejects Google Privacy Stance, Pushes Users to Bing
By Tony Bradley - December 11, 2009
It was the quote heard around the world, and it represents more than just a smoking gun for those who have already been cautious (sometimes bordering on paranoid) about just how much information Google knows about users and what it might do with that information.
Appearing on CNBC, Schmidt was asked whether or not users should inherently trust Google. Schmidt's response was "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. "
Schmidt is certainly not the first person to use the "those who aren't breaking the law have no need for privacy" defense, but coming from the CEO of Google--one of the top targets for privacy concerns--it was enough to cause Dotzler to recommend that Firefox users abandon Google in favor of Microsoft's Bing.
Google has been challenged regarding its sometimes apparent disregard for privacy on a number of occasions. Many countries have taken issue with Google's efforts to photograph neighborhoods for its Street View mapping. Most recently, Google's expansion of personalized search results has upset privacy advocates.
Recommending a switch to Bing is a bold move for Mozilla, which is engaged in a multi-year arrangement with Google that extends through 2011. The majority of Mozilla revenue is derived from Google as a function of the deal, which calls for Mozilla to set Google as the default search engine in its Firefox Web browser software.
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