Tag Archives | Mozilla

Mozilla and Google Renew Firefox Advertising Pact

From Mozilla, news that makes me say “whew”:

We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.

“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla.

The money that funds Firefox comes principally from all the clicks by Firefox users who use Google in the browser. Until this renewal deal was signed, people wondered about a disastrous scenario in which the Firefox product was essentially defunded. Now we know that won’t happen.

In its 2010 fiscal year, by the way, Mozilla made $123 million, mostly from search revenues from Google and other partners. That makes it a rather well-funded non-profit. Fodder for further discussion: How well is it translating that money into a better Firefox (and other products), better Web technologies, and a better Web, period?



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Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko”: The Anti-Chrome OS

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, has announced plans to get into the mobile operating system game with a project called “Boot to Gecko.”

The goal is to create a web-based operating system that includes all the core functions of a smartphone, including phone calls, text messages and photos. For now, Mozilla plans to build the OS from a low-level chunk of Android, but apps that run on the phone would ultimately be available in any web browser.

In typical Mozilla fashion, the company is laying out its intentions even as the project is in its rudimentary stages.

“We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process,” Mozilla wrote on its Boot to Gecko wiki. “We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.”

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Firefox for Android: Desktop-Like Browsing for Your Phone

For all the rapid improvement that both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have seen, one thing about both mobile operating systems hasn’t changed much at all: their browsers. True, their technical underpinnings have been refined. But featurewise, they haven’t evolved at anywhere near the pace of their counterparts on PCs, where the competition among browsers is never-ending.

That’s one reason why I’m in favor of browser competition being as healthy on smartphones and tablets as it is on computers. On iOS, that’s not going to happen anytime soon–Apple doesn’t permit full-blown browsers with their own rendering engines in the App Store. (Ones that use the Safari engine, such as the excellent Atomic Web Browser, are permissible; so is Opera Mini, which does most of its work on Opera’s servers, not on your phone.) On Android, however, there’s nothing stopping other companies from competing with the OS’s built-in browser. Opera announced new versions of both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile for Android a couple of weeks ago. And now Mozilla has released the final version of Firefox 4 for Android.

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Showdown: Chrome (Beta) vs. Firefox 4.0

With new versions scheduled to be released for these two popular web browsers, many of us are rethinking where our loyalties lie. Should we go with the Google Chrome (Beta) or Mozilla Firefox 4.0? Is it worth the upgrade, or is it time to try something new? Here’s a list of the new and upgraded features to make your decision easier.

Release Date:

Google Chrome (Beta): Beta version available; Those using Chrome will be updated soon.

Mozilla Firefox 4.0: Web and mobile browser expected mid-to-late March. [NOTE: A beta version is available.]

Point Goes To: Chrome. It’s available now, and we all know what happens with tentative dates.

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In Bits and Pieces, Mozilla Shows Off Web Apps Project

Mozilla is taking its first significant steps toward building an ecosystem of web apps.

The Firefox maker has announced the first developer release for the Mozilla Web Apps Project. Unlike Google’s Chrome Web Store, which launched in December with apps from big names like the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and NPR, Mozilla’s project is off to a modest start, with a series of disparate parts that will eventually coalesce into a full-blown platform.

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Mozilla Chromeless Aims for Build-Your-Own Browsers

User interface is among the most important parts of any web browser, but lately they’re all starting to look the same.

Mozilla Labs’ solution? Chromeless, an experiment that will let people with knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript create their own browser interfaces.

Introducing the idea, Mozilla developer Marcio Galli asks, “What kinds of wild-eyed experimentation would we see if a new conception of browser UI could be prototyped in about the same time it takes to write a web page?” To illustrate his point, Galli posted a simple example that uses page screenshot thumbnails instead of tabs (pictured here).

I really like the idea of Chromeless. While browser interfaces have become highly-evolved, trimming unused menu space and consolidating clutter is not the same as introducing revolutionary new features. If the web browser has any more major leaps in store — something on par with tabs and omnibars — their chances of being discovered will greatly improve if lots of people can easily make their own prototypes. I doubt that any one remix would become popular on its own, but successful experiments could certainly find their way into major browser releases.

Chromeless is still in pre-alpha, and over the next few months, Mozilla will add APIs, security features, and eventually a software development kit for putting together genuine browser remixes. I’m excited to see what people come up with.