Mozilla exec: Bing is not popular enough for Firefox

by admin December 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s director of community development, explains why an add-on is required to add Bing as a search option from within Firefox.

If you download a fresh copy of Firefox, you’ll note that the default search engine is not whatever you already have picked in all your other browsers. Instead, Mozilla chooses Firefox’s default search engine, and the list of search providers in the accompanying drop down menu, based on their popularity. Thus, Bing isn’t one of the choices.

This might seem a bit odd to readers who remember last week’s comments from a Mozilla executive urging Firefox users to ditch Google for Bing due to privacy policies. In order to switch—or even to try the service in the search bar—users have to download the Bing add-on for Firefox; they can’t simply change the drop-down choice.

Wondering why this was, we contacted Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s director of community development, the same man who recently switched from Google to Bing and used his personal blog to try to get other Firefox users to do the same. Is Bing not an option in Firefox because there is some kind of Google-Mozilla conspiracy going on? After all, the larger majority of Mozilla’s revenue has always come from Google (about 97 percent). Most of Mozilla’s revenue is still being generated through search deals with Google and other popular website operators, and Google has recently committed to extending its contract with Mozilla until 2011.

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