Changes to Firefox Tabs Coming

by Tom Mullaly on November 5, 2005

Ben Goodger, former Firefox devleoper and now an employee of Google, has a post at his blog where he indicates that Google has been doing some usability testing on tabbed browsing. You can read the results of the testing at his blog, but more interesting is a follow-up post by Mozilla contributor Henrik Gemal who wonders why is Google doing usability testing on tabbed browsing in Firefox?

This lead me to think that maybe Google is working on something bigger given that yesterday, they just added a referral program to their adsense publishers that pays $1.00 whenever you refer somebody to install Firefox and the Google Toolbar for Firefox. What I find interesting is that the referal program is only for Firefox and not IE. Any thoughts?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

JesterXL

Unsubstantiated, FUD, and rumor mongering, but perhaps they are buying Firefox?… or, at least incoporating parts of it + the gecko engine into their own browser?

They’d love having XUL support in a browser they pushed onto the public.

Steve

Google wouldn’t target Firefox with a browser, or even target IE. If anything, Google’s going to contribute to Firefox…get it to pass the ACID2, and get some feature they like or something. Google wouldn’t target an opensource MS competitor.

Willo

I think it’s pretty simply really. Microsoft and Google are competitors. Google’s business model is based on use of the browser. Basing your business on a competitors technology is risky. It’s in googles best interest to move firefox to the forefront…Especially because it is open source. If the battle gets ugly, MS could throw roadblocks into their code for Google….

Joel

>> but perhaps they are buying Firefox?

Joel

Argh! the blogger lost most of my comment! Note to self, never post a < on this site’s comments.

Referring to buying Firefox, I don’t think that can be done practically. The license requires the source to remain open so there isn’t a significant advantage to buying it. You could maybe buy the copyrights, but it has to remain open.

My guess is they’re working on a Google-branded version of Firefox that they can pre-install on new computers or appliances.

Just a guess.

kyle

the google firefox thing is the same as the google-openoffice thing. micorsoft is a competitor to google, and google doesn’t have a product ready to compete with microsoft in many areas. in these areas, instead of rushing a half-assed product to market, they simply pump money into someone elses product. they are paying people to bring down microsoft, and looking charitable while doing it

Clueso

>but perhaps they are buying Firefox?

Huh? Buying an OSS group… How is that supposed to work

Joe Anderson

In theory I guess Google could buy the Mozilla trademark from Mozilla Corp. or whoever owns it; however they can’t buy the code.

extremely_volatile_ant

I have to agree it would be VERY wise to take a decent MS competitor and give them money to essentially do what Google was going to do by itself eventually, while at the same time bringing those companies/services into the Google family.

Randy

Think of it like this. Linux became a purchasable software, despite its open-coded background. If Google does anything, it will likely strike that similar balance between using what’s already open sourse, leaving Firefox to its own devices, but only after it develops something similar. It’ll make things that can sell alongside MS and even Linux based on the work that the Firefox community has already done. It’s really the only way to keep both the general public, who require ease of use, and developers, who are generally inclined toward open source, interested in a company when the competition (Microsoft, Apple, even Linux) is so stiff. They just might not want to screw anyone in the process, that’s for sure.

Mousky

People are reading way too much into Ben’s post. The suggestion that caught my attention was the ability of Firefox returning to a parent tab when closing a child tab. And from Google’s point of view that makes sense. Naturally, Google wants users to return to the tab with the search results not another tab.

Mousky

And don’t forget that Google lets its employees spend some of their time on non-Google things. Seeing that Ben is still devoted to the development of Firefox, it seems that he decided to the use the resources available to him at Google to improve Firefox.

Ryan

Firefox is not so innovative after all with its tabs. Ben Goodger says so. Take a look at one of his respones to a comment:

Posted by: Ben Goodger at November 4, 2005 08:59 AM

dflock – LOL. I just tested Opera 8.02 and you’re right. And we thought we were so clever for coming up with this heuristic. -_-;

A Shakouri

Maybe google is tinkering with somehow adding tabbed browsing within google, and not dependent on the browser itself. It would be cool to have different google tabs open within without requiring a browser that supports tabbed browsing.

JtJin

Some people use tabs to open multiple links from a cursory scan of a website before reading the linked articles for further info.

It would be mildly annoying to have the browser return to the parent tab if you want to read them one after the other instead.

Yash

I think that instead of buying or developing competing products, Google is making an even smarter move.

I believe Google with its search engine lead, can know which open source or commercial alternatives are popular and viable.

Then, Google finds ways of offering value-added services to the software. At the same time, they leverage their adsense and affiliate leads, and they make the use of their internet services easier.

Google will continue to extend an enhance alternate products and take the lead with minimal investments this way.

Up to now though, I haven’t seen Google do the same with Developer tools but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

And if they do, I’d like them to contribute to Ruby and Ruby on Rails ;)

Yash

Felipe

How is that supossed to work? Well man if your whole business is that people browse your stuff in their browsers, I guess that will make plenty of sense

># Clueso Says:
>November 7th, 2005 at 8:20 am

>>but perhaps they are buying >Firefox?

>Huh? Buying an OSS group… How >is that supposed to work

Chose Firefox!

I think it’s great that Google is giving Firefox a much-needed push. After the initial hubbub things got pretty quiet with FF.

I’m sure Google have their own interests in mind for pimping Firefox, but I’m not sure what their ultimate plan is – they might even just be doing it to annoy MS!

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