Google Hires Lead Firefox Developer

Lending more credibility to rumors that it may be considering a Web browser of its own, Google has hired lead Firefox engineer Ben Goodger. Goodger made the announcement in his Web log Monday, but says his role with the Mozilla project will "remain largely unchanged" despite a different paycheck.

With Google now paying the bills for Goodger, questions have arisen about Google's relationship with the Mozilla Foundation. The search giant previously sponsored a Mozilla programmers meeting, and the default Web site for Firefox is a custom version of Google.com.

But as Firefox continues to make dents in Microsoft's Internet Explorer market share, it is no surprise to many that Google is supporting the open source cause. Google has found itself in a fierce battle with Microsoft over Web and desktop searches, and Firefox may prove an important tool in dismantling Redmond's Web empire.

For now, Goodger plans to focus on the next iterations of Firefox, which reached its 1.0 milestone in November.

"I remain devoted full-time to the advancement of Firefox, the Mozilla platform and web browsing in general," Goodger wrote. "While I will be spending more time at Google, I will work out of the Mozilla Foundation offices regularly as the need arises."

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