Firefox Developer Criticizes Google

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Firefox and Google have enjoyed a quaint partnership as of late. The search engine giant has helped sponsor the development of the increasingly popular web browser, and in return Firefox has embedded Google as the default search engine and start page in the application.

The partnership may be experiencing a bit of turbulence, however, after a December 25th blog posting by Blake Ross, a developer for the Firefox web browser. In a bit of a sour Christmas present, Ross took umbrage with recent revelations that Google is using AdWords and its SERP pages to market its own product and services.

This is yet more negative publicity for the one-time darling of the blogosphere, adding to the list of frustrations with advertising practices and service outages mounting against Google these days.

Ross comments with more detail in his blog post:

“Google is now displaying “tips” that point searchers to Google Calendar, Blogger and Picasa for any search phrase that includes “calendar” (e.g. Yahoo calendar), “blog” and “photo sharing,” respectively. This is clearly bad for competitors, and it’s also a bad sign for Google.”

Of course, Google isn’t first (or the last) company that has made use of its own devices as a method of self-promotion. In fact, this sort of move might actually be expected from most companies, but as Ross adds, Google doesn’t fall into the category of “most companies” in this instance:

“First, two notes. One, Yahoo and Ask already do this, but they didn’t build their businesses on the promise of being unconventionally trustworthy.”

Much jest has been poked at Google’s slogan of “Do no evil” throughout recent years. However, it has been a standard to which the company has seemed to live up to. With proprietary advertising and bundling of services, however, bloggers, analysis and developers such as Ross see potential for abuse ahead:

“[I]n many ways, Google’s new age “bundling” is far worse than anything Microsoft did or even could do. Microsoft threw spaghetti at the wall and hoped it stuck, and likewise there’s nothing wrong with Google’s arbitrary front page ads. The difference here is that Google knows what users want and can discreetly recommend its products at the right time.”

Has Google embraced the Dark Side of the Force? Is this a betrayal comparable to the treachery of Saruman? Truthfully, it’s probably too early to tell. For all the subtleties involved here, has Google done anything outrageously evil to merit such designations?

The simple answer is no. Perhaps the real answer, however, is not yet.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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