Mozilla responds to Google Chrome: “It’s an experiment”

Google ChromeAs you will probably know by now, last night saw the launch of Google’s new web browser, Chrome. Somewhat confusingly trumpeted by Michael Arrington as a ‘Windows killer’, Google Chrome is clearly designed to take on not only Microsoft’s Internet Explorer but also Mozilla’s Firefox. We spoke to Mozilla Europe board member Zbigniew Braniecki, to get the open-source giant’s first reactions to the new kid on the block.

Talking about the launch, Braniecki told us:

I am happy that a new browser has entered the market: Google has very talented developers. They are creating a browser according to our (Mozilla’s) values – openness, standards, security and privacy. What the final result will be is hard to say.

But Google is a very different organisation to Mozilla, so their aims differ too:

We believe that the key for Mozilla is to stay in the role of the non-profit organization that aims to provide innovation and choice on the Internet. In short: Google is just a company, like Apple, Flock and so on. Whereas the Mozilla Foundation has a special position and responsibility in the development of the Internet.

Regarding the new browser and its features (much has been made, by Google and by other commentators of Chrome’s use of individual processes for each open tab):

Parts of [Chrome] are already implemented in Firefox, Safari, Opera or IE8. Some bits are really innovative and we’ll look at these with great interest. But for example, tabs as independent processes are very greedy when it comes to memory. Every Gmail tab loads everything. In Firefox we can optimize memory in such cases, but independent processes in Chrome do not offer such flexibility.

Much has been made of the fact that Google provides up to 70% of Mozilla’s funding. Is Mozilla going to take action against Google to protect Firefox’s market share?

Regarding business, it won’t be possible for us to erase Google Chrome ads from Google results that are shown to Firefox users. But for sure it is too early to say that Chrome is real competitor. It is an experiment, and not as professional a product as it looks in the press. There’s a long way to go before this is a product that can be responsibly offered to large groups of users. Firefox is an established, complete browser that works for millions of users every day. We have just extended agreement with Google for next 3 years.

We do not have any “silent deals” with Google, just partner agreements similar to what Opera has. Google does not prefer Mozilla in any way.

So perhaps some of the predictions about what will happen at the end of this new three year deal are correct? Only time will tell whether Googleis really happy to keep funding what is now a competitor.

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