Google is the new Microsoft, at least in the way every move the company makes and its relationships are viewed in the context of a secretive, powerful company bent on world domination. Christopher Soghoian adds to the drama, making a case that Google unduly influences the direction of the Firefox browser. He wrote:
However, the open secret in the tech sector is that at the end of the day, Google calls the shots. When the Big G wants some technology in Firefox, a patch gets applied. Worse, as this blog post will explain, when a pro-user security feature in the browser threatens Google's business model, it is the feature that is made to compromise--not the search engine.
He points out that the vast majority of revenue Firefox generated came from Google, Firefox includes Google-created features and Google engineers contribute code to Firefox and its host, the Mozilla Foundation. The contributions by Google engineers makes sense, since that is how open source project evolve. IBM does the same for Linux, and of course, they want to add things that are self serving. As Soghoian suggests, it can get complicated and conflicted because Google, IBM and other open source code contributors are major financial sponsors the projects.
Soghoian also notes that if Firefox substituted another search engine for Google, users would protest due to its popularity. That would be a reasonable explanation for why Firefox works closely with Google.
The centerpiece of his case is related to anti-phishing and Firefox adopting Google's anti-malware technology:
Google has a well-known flaw in one of its Web sites that can be (ab)used by phishers and malicious hackers. Google refuses to fix the flaw, as it believes that it is not a problem. Google also operates the Firefox phishing blacklist. Will Google add one of its own domains to the phishing blacklist? Of course not!
Read Soghoian's post