Mozilla on Tuesday announced that Google had agreed to a new search referral deal with it, ending weeks of suspense over the search giant’s willingness to renew the deal ever since it expired last month and allowing the latter to remain the default search provider inside Firefox. This also brings to an end the recent speculation regarding the fate of Firefox, which was seen as being closely linked to the proceeds from the deal.
The cool thing about Mozilla's rapid release schedule for Firefox is that you never have to wait long for the next version to come out, which is a real boon if you want to play with the latest and greatest but aren't real keen on the thought of mucking around with beta code. And if you've been waiting around for Firefox 9 to go gold, your day has come.
Got your tin foil hats on? Good – you’ll need it for this. Earlier this week, Accuvant Labs released a study that named Chrome the most secure browser in all the land. Um, one problem: Google was the one that commissioned the study. But the story doesn’t end there! A couple of days ago, NSS Labs – an independent security research firm – released a report of its own, in which it dissected the flaws in Accuvant’s methodology and claimed that the Accuvant study was but a small portion of a wider plan by Google to effectively kill of Firefox. Oh snap!
Mozilla is in the middle of a difficult phase. Chrome is said to have overtaken Mozilla Firefox in terms of market share and there is ongoing suspense over the open-source outfit’s lucrative search referral deal with Google. The latter in particular is being seen as a major concern, with almost 80 percent of Mozilla’s annual revenue at stake. All said, It’s just about the best time for a non-profit to remind everyone about its selfless goals and make a pitch for donations.
Firefox is in big trouble, there’s no point trying to sugarcoat the truth here folks. In addition to slipping from 25% to 22% in the most recent market share results, we are now also hearing word that the search partnership with Google which made up over 84% of the company’s revenues is about to expire, and may not be renewed. The Google deal according to Mozilla’s financial statements was set to expire at the end of November, and so far nobody at the company has confirmed any extensions.
At the rate things were going, it was only a matter of time before Google's Chrome browser skipped ahead of Mozilla Firefox, and according to at least one Web analytics company, it's finally happened. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's paid attention to the browser market. Chrome has been gaining ground ever since it was released, while Firefox long appeared to plateau, and even fall back a step a time or two.
Ever since Adobe announced its decision to abandon the development of Flash for mobile devices, there has been a lot of speculation about the ubiquitous plugin’s future. While it’s difficult to tell exactly how much more time Flash has left to go, that it will be usurped by HTML5 is almost certain. In the meantime, browser vendors can hone their browsers’ HTML5 skills. This is what Mozilla has been doing for some time now. Now it’s readying yet another feature that will benefit Firefox’s overall HTML5 capabilities.
Mozilla released a couple new versions of its popular Thunderbird email client today, Thunderbird v3.1.16 and v8.0, along with the 1.0 launch of Lightning, a fully integrated calendar add-on for Thunderbird that lets users organize schedules and events. More importantly, the combination of Thunderbird 8 and Lightning 1.0 gives open-source advocates a free and fully featured replacement for Microsoft's Outlook client.
Amazon's HTML5-based Kindle Cloud Reader lets you read your Kindle books in your Web browser, a neat idea that's hampered by lack of widespread support, including Internet Explorer and Firefox. Well, Amazon is still shunning Internet Explorer (or vice versa), but the Kindle Cloud Reader does now work with Mozilla Firefox, along with existing support for Chrome and Safari (on the iPad and desktop).
With few exceptions, Microsoft's share of the browser market has been steadily declining since at least November 2009, which is how far back Net Marketshare lets us look. Back then, Microsoft's Internet Explorer was the dominant browser on desktops with a 64.46 percent share. And today? It's still dominant with a 52.63 percent share of the market, but the gap is quickly narrowing.