Chrome Engineer Explains Near Billion Dollar Investment in Mozilla

Paul Lilly

Some people have been questioning why Google would dump nearly a billion dollars into a three-year search deal with Mozilla and its Firefox browser instead of leaving Mozilla high and dry after their existing agreement expired. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the new deal is three times higher than the previous one, and is more than Microsoft was willing to pay Mozilla to have Bing featured as the default search. Why give all that money to a competitor? That's the wrong question to ask, according to one of Chrome's developers.

Peter Kasting, a Senior Software Engineer and a member of the Chrome UI team, got all riled up after reading MG Sielger's " Pay to Stay " piece, in which Sielger concluded that Google is "paying all that money to a competitor." His piece prompted a mini-rant from Kasting, who explained Google's reasoning in a Google+ post .

"People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads. It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the Web advance as much and as quickly as possible," Kasting said. "That's it. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the Web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done. The end."

Kasting doesn't claim Google is a total Web evangelist. He points out that "Google succeeds (and makes money) when the Web succeeds and people use it more to do everything they need," so if that means supporting companies like Mozilla, then so be it.

"Because of this Chrome doesn't need to be a Microsoft Office, a direct-money-maker, nor does it even need to directly feed users to Google. Just making the Web more capable is enough," Kastings added.

As Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story.

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