TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Hires Top Firefox Web Browser Programmer

Google Hires Top Firefox Web Browser Programmer

Lisa Minter (
25 Jan 2005 07:44:17 -0800

LONDON (Reuters) - Web search company Google has hired the lead
engineer of the Firefox Web browser, fueling speculation that Google
will create its own version of Firefox to take on Microsoft's dominant
Internet Explorer.

Ben Goodger said in a note on his Web site --
http:/ -- that he would continue to work
on Firefox, a free browser that has gained a popular following due to
additional features and fewer attacks from malicious hackers than
Internet Explorer.

Internet cognoscenti have speculated about a Google browser since the
company registered the domain and hired several Internet
Explorer engineers last year.

A Google spokeswoman in London declined to say whether the company had
a browser in the works.

"We can't share any information about what we're working on, but many
of our products aim to transform the browsing experience," she said.

Goodger's title at Google will be software engineer, she
said, and half of his time will be donated to the non-profit
Mozilla foundation, which owns Firefox.

The Firefox browser has been downloaded more than 20 million times and
currently has a market share of at least 5 percent, according to
industry estimates -- a figure that is likely to increase if leveraged
with the Google brand name.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has said that the company is not
building a browser, but that may leave room for Google to take the
fully-built Firefox browser and add its own features.

Google has expanded well beyond its core Internet search engine,
especially since its initial public offering last August.

It now offers email (Gmail), a blogging service (Blogger), a price
comparison site (Froogle) and a news site (Google News), and on
Tuesday it announced a test service to search TV programs.

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