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Google Nabs FireFox Developer

January 26th, 2005

Google, the world’s largest search engine, has hired the lead engineer of the FireFox web browser. FireFox has become something of a movement of late, achieving more than 20 million downloads with an ad budget created from user donations, a lot of passion and millions of committed evangelists.

The move by Google is fueling semi-dormant speculation that Google is working on a web browser – or will be soon. Ben Goodger noted on his blog that he would continue working on the Open Source browser.

The move is bound to rekindle speculation about a Google browser, something a Google spokeswoman in the UK declined to comment on. “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 Enginner. Fully half of his time will be donated to the Mozilla foundation, which develops FireFox.

Goodger is happy about the move, specifically that he will continue his involvement in FireFox.

“My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged,” Goodger wrote in the post. “I will continue doing much the same work … with the new goal of successful [Version] 1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases. I remain devoted full-time to the advancement of Firefox, the Mozilla platform and Web browsing in general.”

The move is one of the first in evidence that Google is openly supporting Open Source, instead of merely using it to fuel its hundreds of thousands of servers without paying licensing fees.

Baker’s role in the development of FireFox should be unchanged, as he will keep his title of “module owner”, which in his case means he oversees Firefox engineering. Those serving as Mozilla module owners agree to act in the best interest of Mozilla project and community.

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