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Google Dev: We Are Making Chrome Out of Kindness to Web

By - Source: Peter Kasting | B 26 comments

There has been plenty of speculation about Google's motivation to guarantee Mozilla nearly $1 billion in a 3-year advertising contract that covers the search box in Firefox.

The obvious idea behind this move is Google's interest in capturing those advertising revenues generated by Mozilla's 25 percent browser market share and users who are using the box for Google searches. Some rumors suggest that the price for Firefox went up as Microsoft was bidding for the space as well and Google certainly has no interest to handing those search revenues to Bing.

The problem, of course, is Firefox is a rival for Chrome is this respect as it is cheaper for Google to harvest search revenues through Chrome than pay Mozilla. As long as Mozilla has substantial market share that makes economic sense for Google, there is no reason to believe why Google would be dropping Mozilla. However, Chrome developer Peter Kasting does not quite agree and complained that people do not understand why Google is developing Chrome and why Google is supporting Firefox. According to Kasting, Chrome is much more Google's donation to the world, a welfare project if you will, than a tool that generates revenues.

Kasting argues that "the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible. That's it. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done. The end."

To continue that thought, Mozilla also aims to make the web better. And since Chrome "cannot be all things to all people", Google needs to fund Mozilla as Firefox "is an important product because it can be a different product with different design decisions and serve different users well." Kasting concludes his thoughts with the notion that "Google succeeds (and makes money) when the web succeeds and people use it more to do everything they need to do." One may wonder where all the advertising business fits into this argument, as Chrome is actually tied directly to advertising via its instant-search engine supported via the location bar.

For some perspective, there is a balancing post from Firefox product manager Asa Dotzler, who has not been especially kind to Google's intention to build walls around its interests in the web in the past. According to Dotzler, the deal between Mozilla and Google has, of course, to do with selling ads: "This is Google's business," he writes. "They sell ads alongside 'free' content, and they buy additional traffic to make those ads more valuable." Contrary to Kasting's web welfare claims to make the web better, Dotzler says that "Google is not a philanthropist 'donating' money to Mozilla or any other traffic acquisition partner."

In the greater view, the deal makes sense for both parties and Mozilla has clearly come out on top, but the Firefox guys have a rough year ahead to make the money work. Despite Kasting's thoughts that Mozilla is simply an extension of Google's intent to make the web better, there may be more interest for Google to keep Mozilla alive and well down the road. The company is already under fire for unfair monopolization of web apps and advertising and the last thing Google needs is an antitrust suit that it killed Firefox in the browser race. Funding it with $1 billion may help avoid such a suit.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 27, 2011 6:08 PM
    Killing off IE6 would be kindness to the web.
  • 11 Hide
    jujuvivi , December 27, 2011 4:08 PM
    Quote:
    the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible.

    Indeed.
    1997: IE 4: DHTML & close to full CSS 2 & HTML 4
    1998: IE 5: AJAX - better CSS/HTML

    2001: IE 6: a little better
    2006: IE 7: A little better
    2009: IE 8: A little better

    2011: IE 9: HTML 5, SVG, Performance, Full www compatibility...

    In 10 years, between 1998 and 2009, Microsoft barely worked on IE.
    It's only after other browsers catch up that they finally went back on it.
  • 10 Hide
    perspective , December 27, 2011 6:24 PM
    Google has never asked me for money. I don't pay to use their browser. Sometimes I dabble in AdSense, but my taxes aren't paying their salaries. Who gets paid with my taxes? Oh, that's right, elected officials. If anything, Google has made more progress toward revolutionizing the internet than our respective governments have done at ameliorating our social and economic predicaments. Until Goggle betrays my trust, I'll continue to applaud them for their "humanitarian" efforts.
Other Comments
    Display all 26 comments.
  • 11 Hide
    jujuvivi , December 27, 2011 4:08 PM
    Quote:
    the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible.

    Indeed.
    1997: IE 4: DHTML & close to full CSS 2 & HTML 4
    1998: IE 5: AJAX - better CSS/HTML

    2001: IE 6: a little better
    2006: IE 7: A little better
    2009: IE 8: A little better

    2011: IE 9: HTML 5, SVG, Performance, Full www compatibility...

    In 10 years, between 1998 and 2009, Microsoft barely worked on IE.
    It's only after other browsers catch up that they finally went back on it.
  • 9 Hide
    de5_Roy , December 27, 2011 4:20 PM
    google developing chrome it out of kindness to the web? what bullshit!
    google does, has always done and will always do everything for its own welfare. they're developing chrome for -
    better data mining,
    more ad revenues,
    gateway software to google's own ecosystem (e.g. gmail, google earth, google+, chrome os etc),
    above all, MONEY, POWER and consequently....WORLD DOMINAAAAAAAYSHUN (aka future skynet/matrix/facebook).
    the bit about mozilla and anti trust is right. google should keep injecting money into mozilla and i can enjoy using firefox. :D 
  • 4 Hide
    blurr91 , December 27, 2011 4:31 PM
    google developing chrome it out of kindness to the web?

    That's like saying banks lend us money out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Google is a business. It runs on profit motive. It's run by the same greedy bastards that run the banks, labor unions, and our governments.
  • -2 Hide
    polly the parrot , December 27, 2011 4:39 PM
    I'm cool with Google taking over the world I like quite like Chrome. Thanks Google!
  • -1 Hide
    dstigue , December 27, 2011 4:47 PM
    We all need an overload and we vote more with our browser choice then our wallets these days! Well with google wallet it's all the same thing.. And android... Well I'm getting ahead of myself... But if I have to pick an overload it's google for now. May change my mind when facebook branches out a bit.
  • 4 Hide
    mickey21 , December 27, 2011 5:48 PM
    I am not naive but some are missing the point, Google does a lot of what it does to make money and I believe there is likely some truth to the statement that they develop Chrome to better the internet. Yeah I can buy that, IE and Firefox need another browser to keep them on their toes. And Chrome has done that job very well. But of course the end result of all of this will likely lead to more profits. It like the truth wrapped up in a white lie. It isnt really a lie, but kudos for them to say the truth and it lead to what they also want.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , December 27, 2011 5:54 PM
    dstigue: a web browser designed by facebook. omg. dear god no.
  • 12 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 27, 2011 6:08 PM
    Killing off IE6 would be kindness to the web.
  • 2 Hide
    jl0329 , December 27, 2011 6:14 PM
    "google developing chrome it out of kindness to the web"

    My eyes are filled with tears.... Google defines humanity. All hail Google! Long live Google!

    /s
  • 2 Hide
    freggo , December 27, 2011 6:20 PM
    "out of kindness to the web"

    Yeah, anyone wants to buy a used Bridge ?
  • 10 Hide
    perspective , December 27, 2011 6:24 PM
    Google has never asked me for money. I don't pay to use their browser. Sometimes I dabble in AdSense, but my taxes aren't paying their salaries. Who gets paid with my taxes? Oh, that's right, elected officials. If anything, Google has made more progress toward revolutionizing the internet than our respective governments have done at ameliorating our social and economic predicaments. Until Goggle betrays my trust, I'll continue to applaud them for their "humanitarian" efforts.
  • -2 Hide
    Aoster87 , December 27, 2011 6:52 PM
    What the hell is wrong with the grammar and some of the language in here? Doesn't sound like "the authority on tech" material.
  • 0 Hide
    zybch , December 27, 2011 7:27 PM
    perspectiveUntil Goggle betrays my trust, I'll continue to applaud them for their "humanitarian" efforts.

    You are totally blind if you believe they haven't already done this many times.
    Google are about one thing and one thing only, profit.
    As soon as fools like you get it through their thick heads that google isn't a search or mapping or mail company and are actually just an advertising corporation the sooner you'll see how they do NOTHING if it doesn't directly lead them to more profits.
    Google is an advertiser, none of its 'free' products are designed to do anything more than drive advertising traffic.
  • 3 Hide
    nebun , December 27, 2011 8:49 PM
    Aoster87What the hell is wrong with the grammar and some of the language in here? Doesn't sound like "the authority on tech" material.

    who cares....
  • 3 Hide
    inxane , December 27, 2011 9:08 PM
    any chance we can see intel do this for AMD?
  • 0 Hide
    stm1185 , December 28, 2011 12:09 AM
    Chrome has been great for the web though. Just look at how much it pushes innovation not just it's own but Mozilla's and Microsoft's too. We'd probably still be on Firefox 3.6 and IE 8 if not for Chrome forcing the competition. Especially on the UI front. Try and picture what IE or FF would look like today without having Chrome around.
  • -2 Hide
    ta152h , December 28, 2011 1:20 AM
    stm1185Chrome has been great for the web though. Just look at how much it pushes innovation not just it's own but Mozilla's and Microsoft's too. We'd probably still be on Firefox 3.6 and IE 8 if not for Chrome forcing the competition. Especially on the UI front. Try and picture what IE or FF would look like today without having Chrome around.


    Actually, what they all do is wait for Opera to create the newest thing that people want, and copy it. So, sorry, it's not Chrome that's pushing the market, it's Opera.
  • 1 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , December 28, 2011 2:16 AM
    To me, it is clear that Google developed Chrome because they were not sure browsers at the time would have the performance needed for their Cloud strategy (Google docs mostly at the time). So they started to work on it.

    The chrome books also enter into this idea of a browser that should make you think an off-line Windows environment as an old fashion concept.

    In that direction, they have innovated many things (speed most notably). Since both Firefox and Chrome are open source, and a good browser is a means to an end, I do believe Kasting that any browser that delivers Chrome's features is good enough for Google (does not have to be THE CHROME browser). But I don't think Google's actions in this regard are a donation.
  • -2 Hide
    livebriand , December 28, 2011 4:08 AM
    I refuse to use Chrome because Google includes it with other installers like malware, and advertise it like hell (no wonder why they have a bunch of market share, and plenty of people who use it likely don't know how they got it). These are both things that Firefox doesn't do. Therefore, I'm sticking with firefox (it also has better addons, who cares if it's a tad slower).
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 28, 2011 4:17 AM
    Maybe they could make a 64-bit browser...out of kindness, of course.
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