Mozilla Endorses Bing Over Google Privacy Issues

A Mozilla official last week pointed Firefox users to the extension that adds Microsoft's Bing search engine to the list of the browser's search engines after Google's CEO downplayed consumers' privacy concerns.

google privacy
Artwork: Chip Taylor
Citing a clip from a CNBC broadcast last Friday, during which Google chief executive Eric Schmidt discussed online privacy, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, provided a link to the Firefox extension that adds Bing to Firefox's search engine list. "Here's how you can easily switch Firefox's search from Google to Bing," said Dotzler in an entry on his personal blog today. The link he included leads to the Bing search add-on .

During the interview, Schmidt was asked: "People are treating Google like their most trusted friend...should they be?" It was Schmidt's answer that motivated Dotzler to show users how to drop Google, Firefox's default search engine, for rival Bing.

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," Schmidt told CNBC. "If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities," added Schmidt.

The CNBC clip with Schmidt's comments can be viewed on YouTube, ironically a Google-owned property.

Dotzler fumed over Schmidt's comments on privacy. "That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy," said Dotzler on his blog. "There is no ambiguity, no 'out of context' here." Dotzler added that he considers Bing's privacy policy better than Google's.

Dotzler is a 10-year-veteran of Mozilla.

What made Dotzler's touting of Bing interesting is that Mozilla, which has a multi-year deal with Google that ends in 2011, derives the vast bulk of its revenue from the arrangement, which sets Google 's search as the default in the browser and shunts some revenues from ads that Firefox users click on to Mozilla.

According to Mozilla's most-recently-released financial statement ( download PDF ), 97% of its revenues came from deals it has with Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and others. The lion's share of its search engine-based income, however, originated from Google.

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