back to article Mozilla man sends Firefoxers to Microsoft Bing

Mozilla director of community development Asa Dotzler - co-founder of the original Firefox project - has encouraged Firefox users to switch their search engine from Google to Microsoft Bing in the wake of Eric Schmidt's now infamous words on net privacy. In an interview aired by CNBC on Sunday, the Google boss insisted that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why half-assed?

    Why stop at the search engine, support Microsoft all the way, use IE.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Are you nuts ?

      I'm just trying to quit MS entirely and now you're pushing me back? Like MS is in desperate need of support.

      1. Lionel Baden
        Gates Halo

        oh come on

        the first post was very funny :)

        i loled

      2. c3

        Awwww, Microsoft, that last bastion of freedom

        Mine's the one with a post-it that says "LOL" in the pocket.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Google divorce

    Looks like things are hotting up in the biggest divorce since Nicole left Tom. It's not even a week since they announced they want to start developing a proper email client based on Thunderbird - much to Google's indifference at this stage, I would imagine. Maybe five years ago, but not now.

    This is nothing to do with privacy laws, anyone can see that. Switching from one US search provider to another accomplishes what exactly, other than a poorer quality search?

    Mozilla are starting to panic that their sugardaddy is going off them - they're rally scared - so, knowing they don't have a business model that can ever allow them to stand on their own two feet, they're now looking for a new pimp. The fact that they're having to dance with MS really highlights how in the shit they are, long term. No doubt MS are going to pay handsomely for this, after all it means the two biggest browsers are both pushing users toward its search engine and making it money and good PR, but it also means that as soon as 90% of Mozilla's income comes from MS rather than Google, they become MS's bitch and start doing what they're told to do. Come on - seriously - would you rather be Google's bitch or MS's? They must be in a terrible state to want to make the leap from the frying pan to the fire.

    This is nothing to do with privacy - do you seriously think MS are safer in that regard than Google or not subject to the same laws or get the same calls from the same agencies? - it's all about shifting strategic partnerships to make mozney. The problem is that both Google and MS are huge corporations who speak each other's language more than they speak Mozilla's. You might like Firefox, but the truth is that it could disappear tomorrow and the Web would continue just fine, thank you very much. Mozilla is now officially a pawn - and has been pwned. They're also frightened, quite understandably.

    Note to The Reg®: There's no icon of Malcolm Tucker to attach to this article about Asa Dotzler.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "a proper email client based on Thunderbird "

      Thunderbird IS a proper email client.

  3. Craig Foster
    Big Brother

    Seriously, Schmidt?

    Is Schmidt serious?

    At least Google is *UP FRONT* about how they log everything, and the implications of doing stupid /illegal stuff while browsing - and you can see what they've got in your Google account page.

    While it came across badly, the Google guy is correct. If you do something bad on the internet, there are plenty of ways you'll get logged. Tor, shell accounts, next-door's wireless, anonymous proxies are some tools in hiding that, but don't expect any browsing to be completely private.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree

      I use Google, I know that they track my searches, I know that they use it to "tailor" my experience. I have no problems with that - I know that they are doing it.

      Do we know how Microsoft track us? We know that their O/S report home about things without telling us, we know that results on Bing can be influenced by money and we know that Bing is using Silverlight which sort of really locks out certain portions of the internet "population".

      I know who I'd rather use for search....

  4. Anonymous Coward

    It's all voluntary

    I think what people seem to be forgetting, that apart from laws like the Patriot Act or the DMCA, everything that people do online is voluntary. When you go to Google and sign up for their services, you are agreeing that they can hold on to your data. When you make a website and want (or don't want) it to be searched by a search engine, you use (or don't use) a robots.txt file to tell the engine what to do. All this is up to you. No one is pointing a gun to your head and telling you to do as they say or die. That's what the law is for. If you want absolute privacy, then you may as well shut yourself away from everyone and everything, because when you go outside of your house, or on to the Internet, you are trading your privacy for interaction with others and services provided by others. Seriously people, get a grip on reality would you?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge


      When you go to Google and *DON'T* sign up for their services (I won't do so as I'm not bloody fucking likely to *agree* with them holding on to my data), they still hold on to your data.

    2. Stacy

      omg... People really think like this?

      So not only are the goverments and companies acting like big brother, people are now starting to act like Winston Smith 's fellow citizens...

      I do nothing illegal - it doesn't mean I don't care about my privacy...

      As the old addage goes '1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a prediction'

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      I don't volunteer to have privacy disclosed

      "everything that people do online is voluntary. When you go to Google and sign up for their services, you are agreeing that they can hold on to your data."

      Actually, you don't. You don't have an actual contract when you just go to Google and use the search engine - you're never asked to sign up, nor are you informed you have just engaged in a contractual relationship.

      This means that existing laws remain valid, and as far as I know most countries have signed up to Human Rights. As for using OTHER Google services you're 100% right, nobody seems to know Clause 11 in their ToS..

    4. Paul RND*1000
      Big Brother

      but the rules keep changing

      The problem with the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" attitude is this:

      Maybe you have nothing to hide now, so you have no fear of your habits online or offline being logged and stored away somewhere. You're safe.

      Now fast forward a decade, after we've continued down the slippery slope even further, and imagine that some innocent activity you enjoy is now considered to be a "threat" (UK-based photographers are familiar with this issue already, now that their hobby/profession has become something which "arouses suspicion").

      Conveniently, your last 10+ years of searches and browsing related to the newly proscribed activity are all ready and waiting for the authorities to trawl through. Please present yourself to your local Ministry of Freedom offices immediately for Thought Realignment.

  5. CC

    Bing eh?

    This article is strange since I downloaded FF last night and the Default search engine when I started it up was BING.

    1. a non-mouse cow heard


      If you have only just installed firefox, presumably on a windows machine - did you import settings from IE? if so that would explain why bing is your default. I installed firefox yesterday for my dad and it is still google as default.

      1. CC

        Yep Bing

        I already had long ago changed the IE default search to Google.

        I just keep Firefox as a backup but use Safari as my default browser.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Chinese government certainly appreciated Google's help with information collection.

  7. D H B

    Point of principle...

    ...It's my observation that generally, when people make a point of "principle", there's usually a hefty wad of boolah lurking unclaimed in the background somewhere.

    So where's Mozilla's? Have they signed up a new contract with their rival?

  8. Lou Gosselin

    @It's all voluntary

    What you seem to be forgetting is that significant pieces of google's behavioral data collection is acquired entirely outside of google's voluntary services.

    Unless one knows about and specifically blocks all of google's domains, there is are plenty more avenues for google to track people online. If it was just google's search engine then this would be a non-issue.

  9. KenBW2

    I want context

    I find it incredibly convenient that CNBC narrates over the 10 seconds before the "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know..." bit. Where's the context?

    If he's talking about secrets from your wife/family/friend then you're right.

    If on the other hand he's talking about the government, they couldn't give a toss that you like whips and chains/are having an affair/think your boss is a wanker

    End this sensationalist crap and give us some context!

  10. LaeMi Qian

    All sing along...

    "My search engine is less evil than your one/

    My search engine is less evil than yours/

    Mine's less evil 'cause its less evil/

    Mine's less evil than yours."

    1. Sebastian Brosig

      @all sing along

      I don't recognize the tune that this lyrical gem scans to, please help me out.

      I'm sorry I haven't a clue.



        It kinda scans :X

      2. I didn't do IT.

        Hot dogs

        Tune was from the Ken-L Ration commercials in the middle - later part of last century.

  11. E Haines

    How soon they forget

    Microsoft doesn't exactly have a great track record on privacy. If you want to make a statement, do something less stupid than using Bing.

  12. Diana Artemis

    Just use Scroogle

    Firefox user horrified by Google's privacy? Search with Google via Scroogle:


    1. Doug Glass

      All Smiles

      You beat me to it.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Schmidt has nothing to hide...

    Please someone post his address, personal email address(es), phone number(s), Social Security number, bank account details, driving license number...

    If I need to visit a confidential help-site for a terminal illness, I don't see why I should have to worry that Google has spotted it through the hidden Java trackers in almost all web pages, and will sell the information to advertisers to target me with cheap funeral services, thanks.

    1. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns

      That's prety dumb

      Google doesn't have your Social Security number, bank account details or driving license number - please try to keep the hyperbole under control.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Plenty of that going on

        When it comes to privacy people love to make those exaggerations. In one of the posts above somebody wrote something about how 1984 was supposed be warning not a prediction- because we all know that Orwell had Google in mind when he wrote 1984.

        "Big brother" must be one of the most misused terms in the history of English language. I think people should read something about Stalin's Soviet Union before even thinking of using it.

  14. lukewarmdog


    Did someone not read the previous articles?

    This isn't about iGoogle knowing what you did last Summer, it's about Google knowing what you are doing, all the time even if you don't have or aren't signed in to a Google account.

    As for Google being the best search engine in the world.. even if it is.. it's not for your benefit and the sooner it admits to being Craigslist the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You got it in one.

      I could put up with Google were is not for their pretence at being a bunch of lovely, cuddly, touchy feelly hippies. They are in the game to make as much money as possible and they have been since day one. They really don't care who or what they trample on in the realisation of that goal.

      In terms of moral bankruptcy I put Google firmly in the same class as Phorm. The difference for most people is that the media portayed Phorm as evil from day one, it's really only since Streetview launched that the popular media have started to portay Google as anything less than angelic. And what do you suppose all this recent pandering to the news content providers is about? PR, plain and simple. If they don't at least throw a bone to the press pack then they are going to start getting negative press. If they play nice with the press then they will still print nice stories about them.

  15. Tony Paulazzo

    Privacy online

    You have none, The only reason I use Firefox is because of no script. I use Google because I get relevant search results. I use Win 7 for touch screen surfing, 3D rendering, Photoshop and games. I use Ubuntu for online banking and shopping.

    When or if I ever become a sexual deviant style terrorist murderer I will do it old style, cash, unregistered phones, face to face, obfuscation, misdirection, and outright lies, rather like the politicians.

  16. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    If you're active in civil rights and stuff

    If you're active in civil rights, gay rights, sexual health, abortion, contraception, organized labor, someone's political campaign, then invididuals working in government or law enforcement may want to know about what you read and transmit on the Internet, and you may want not to have them know, without crimes being committed on YOUR side. Depending on what is counted as a crime where you are.

  17. N2

    Its not just the search

    I daresay Microsoft also do a reasonable amount of massaging with every client that sucks at its search engines teats, but even if this is half right...

    theres a shed load of background churn with Google.

  18. davtom

    Just a rant

    That's all it is. Just a rant. But it's a big rant, and I think it represents feelings of the public at large - at least those who are in the know.

    Got something to hide? What about Google's ranking algorithm? Maybe they shouldn't be doing that. Or otherwise, how about publishing it, Google?

    Google are one of the worst copyright offenders out there. In addition to scraping content from websites and using that content next to adverts, they publish orphaned books illegally, using money to support lawyers so they don't get done for it. People are slowly becoming wise to it, and are fed up with it, especially content providers.

  19. TimeMaster T


    The Enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Just keep them in front of you at all times lest they do something to your back.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Use TrackMeNot

    So google/bing/yahoo/whoever want to keep records of your searches?

    Give them some records to keep...


    TrackMeNot runs in Firefox as a low-priority background process that periodically issues randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. It hides users' actual search trails in a cloud of 'ghost' queries, significantly increasing the difficulty of aggregating such data into accurate or identifying user profiles.

    1. I didn't do IT.


      So, the best it can do is throw out a pre-determined set (however large) of queries in the background while you have FireFox up and running.

      How long until this get politicized? When will it start throwing out queries for certain "questionable" activities in a "stand up for your rights" manner? Or is it doing it already, and forgot to tell anyone?

  21. flixy


    Isn't it obvious that this is the case? If you really think you're anonymous on the web and that every search engine, isp, etc doesn't do exactly the same then you're in lala land.

    "If you don't want someone to know what you're doing, then don't do it" is not a statement that your privacy doesn't matter, it is simply good advice.

    Stop spouting (and spreading) sensationalist crap!

  22. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    So ...

    ... can we expect a Mozilla created Search Engine in the future ?

    On the comparison that Microsoft is no better than Google when it comes to corporate behaviour and putting themselves before their customer's ( the public's ) interests; probably about right but I'm actually more suspicious of Google than Microsoft as advertising is Google's sole revenue stream.

    Google's cavalier attitude - while trying to maintain its public "do no evil" stance - is becoming increasingly suspect. Google seems to seek 'world domination' as much as Microsoft, and I suspect more so.

    We really need an 'Evil Google' icon.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Personally I find it much more satisfying to use Scroogle (also easily plugged into Firefox).

    I get to use Google's search engine, but THEY don't get my data.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Ixquick supposedly protects your privacy.

    You can use the Firefox Ixquick serch engine add-on, besides BetterPrivacy, CookieCuller, AdBlock, CustomizeGoogle, NoScript (urchin.js) etc ...and despising GOOG just like the Departamentul Securităţii Statului, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit and all their modern-day incarnations. Respect for the right to privacy, support the Pirates.

    Following the 9/11 event in the US, Europe has allowed itself to be swept along in a panic reaction to try to end all evil by increasing the level of surveillance and control over the entire population. We Europeans should know better. It is not twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and there are plenty of other horrific examples of surveillance-gone-wrong in Europe's modern history.

    The arguments for each step on the road to the surveillance state may sound ever so convincing. But we Europeans know from experience where that road leads, and it is not somewhere we want to go.

    We must pull the emergency brake on the runaway train towards a society we do not want. Terrorists may attack the open society, but only governments can abolish it. The Pirate Party wants to prevent that from happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      If you could state your case without all the party politics around it you may get more people intested.

      Fact: privacy is a right

      Fact: governments like to listen in (various arguments)

      Fact: companies like to listen in to make money

      Ergo: it's up to you to protect yourself, you're not going to get help from your government unless you live in, umm, Switzerland or Japan.

      As Pirate party we can help, but we have the problem of being associated with piracy through our name. Piracy isn't as bad as the RIAA wants us to believe, but fact remains that it is a crime.

      There, fixed that for you. Now go and change your name, and learn to write pieces that don't sound as if they come from sandal wearing long haired hippies with a severe pharmaceutical problem.

        Paris Hilton


        Thanks for your advice, but I'll leave that writing business to others. "Nothing but the whirl of words could grasp my condition,",,4991666,00.html

  25. Doug Glass

    Scroogle Scraper

    1. Rob Burke
      Thumb Up

      I like...

      ta much

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Asa seems to have had a change of heart

    And it only took four years:

    "ScaredWitless, I don't give one whit whether or not you trust Google.

    - A

    Posted by Asa Dotzler at August 24, 2005 4:45 PM"

    I love the way the Internet never forgets anything.

    1. JP19



  27. Chronos

    Just one way Google invades your privacy

    It's all well and good to direct people to other search engines, but what about the crap that's built into the browser? Safe search, geolocation, the "awesome" bar, search plugins, mail handling via Gfail and so on. Each and every one of these is a potential privacy leak.

    Please, Mozilla, remove this dross from Firefox. If I wanted Google to have a record of my browsing sessions I'd tell them myself. As it is I'm stuck compiling a custom build of Shiretoko just to evade this rot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except that...

      ...the more Mozilla push Google out the less funding Mozilla will have. The vast majority of their funding comes from Google. If they get rid of all the Google stuff they could well end up with a huge hole in their finances. I doubt MS will make up the shortfall for them.

      Having said all that this has been coming since Chrome was announced.

      1. Chronos

        Re: Except that...

        Yes, I know Mozilla are in between a rock and a hard place. I don't want to be unfair with them, but I value privacy and. even without taking into consideration Eric's little rant, I do not trust Google. You're right about Chrome, too. All it needs is NoScript and AdBlock-alike plugins and it'll start to take market share right and left and privacy be damned.

        Still, configuring a custom build isn't that onerous on FreeBSD. I just have to maintain parity between the official port and my local one and not call it Firefox.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Go Mozilla!

    Way to kill your main funding stream!

  29. Gordon is not a Moron

    The world must be coming to an end..

    The LHC is just about ready to powered up to full custard mode, Mozilla want you to use something that comes from Redmond & there's a funny looking bloke with a scythe riding a pale horse outside my window.

  30. Scott Millar

    good move

    I've just done that after google's comments last week. Bing is refreshing!

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Forget It
    Jobs Horns

    Don't be Evil

    sounded a good mantra up until ... now

  33. Martin Gregorie

    Wot abaht AltaVista?

    For the last few days I've been using AltaVista because Google has turned into the Great Privacy Satan and Microsoft is still the same ruthless M$ we all know an love.

    Its become my default browser: AltaVista seems to find stuff as well as the chocolate factory ever did, but with the extra benefits of no adverts, no favoured shops at the top of every search list and, best of all, no bloody price comparison sites cluttering up the list.

    1. I didn't do IT.

      AltaVista Geneology

      AltaVsita is owned by Overture Services, Inc. (

      Overture Services, Inc. is the marketing arm of Yahoo (enter the URL mentioned in the "about" page from AltaVista - - and you get Yahoo!).

      Yahoo is now used by Micrsoft for searches... including Bing (

      You usually don't expect these kind of relationships except in backwater Tennessee...

  34. Apocalypse Later

    But if you have to be evil...

    ...don't get caught.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to hide? Ask Jacqui Smith...

    Maybe Eric will change his mind after he's caught claiming for his wife's pay-per-porn as expenses.


    Well, I have always told people to consider IxQuick. Now, that's privacy.

    1. Rob Burke


      I tried IxQuick for a week a while back. I like the thought of pushing for these levels of privacy and ethics online. The reason I decided to go back to Google was simple: looks cleaner, better results.

      That said, how fantastic would it be if Mozilla did make IxQuick a default search page? If more people use it, it can only get better, grab competition from Google and maybe demonstrate some values to the big players. Making Bing a default search? Is that not like choosing one devil over another... maybe good for encouraging competition though...

      Maybe Google was an appropriate search engine for Mozilla in 2002, but surely it's time to accept that Google has evolved into an evil do-er, and open source shouldn't side with evil.

      Troll doll... love it's purple hair.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A policy is only a public statement, it's not a legal binding document? Terms and conditions can change also.

    Many companies have internal policies and procedures, it doesn't mean these are adhered to.

  38. Bob 13

    Why bother?

    Not that I support Schmidt's position, or am eager to give up on my privacy, but if you think any service by any major (or even minor) online organization is not collecting any data they can get on you, you're delusional. It's in their best interests to gather all the information about its users as possible, so damn straight they're going to do it... and government data protections laws are toothless enough that they can get away with it.

    Which leaves a private internet denizen torn: do you fight like mad for your privacy and just not do anything online, or give up the fight since privacy really is becoming a thing of the past?

  39. Anonymous Coward


    I saw a presentation a few days ago from a MS employee - and I was surprised to see they were proudly using Firefox and Thunderbird.. Makes me wonder if MS are doing some back-room deals with Mozilla. This makes even more sense when you consider Windows 7 will soon have to offer a choice of browser. Firefox prefering bing! What next - Windows going open source?!

  40. Gil Grissum


    The CEO of an advertising firm that uses search to generate details of individuals in order to make money from advertising doesn't value privacy the same way the individuals he's data mining, does. Sorry Schmidt. I don't use your search engine for that reason. The "Ghost" plug in prevents your web bugs from getting anything useful from me. I already use Bing and like it better than Google anyway because it provides me with more useful search results that return info on the whole phrase, not a bunch of useless links that reference one word out of the phrase.

    1. Chronos

      Does he mean...

      Ghostery? He surely does...

      Beer. It's Friday.

  41. Inachu


    Although bing sucks as a search engine I will glady adopt bing and side step googles tracking ability.

  42. Steve Graham

    Money, money, money

    If Mozilla was to lose Gooogle funding, they'd have to revert to an unpaid volunteer development model, like some of the Linux distributions. It seems to work OK for them.

    And maybe a more democratic development process would result in less bloat and questionable design decisions (let's put a database engine in our web browser). Maybe? No, I know, but I can dream, can't I?

  43. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Add Bing to Firefox's search engine list

    Microsoft really need to make their add their motor to Firefox's drop-down search engine list if they want to capture people from Firefox.

    So simple to do, so why haven't they done it?

    1. Chronos

      Haven't got one. Guess I didn't donate enough to NuLabour.

      Because, Dan, if they did that in the way your text seems to suggest, all hell would break loose with people calling Microsoft silly names and kicking off a whole new round of "Microsoft is EVIL for replacing my default search."

      MS have to tread carefully, being in the sights of so many government agencies.

      If you mean "Add Bing" on the dropdown when visiting Bing's landing page, similar to the way Cuil does, then that should present no problems.

  44. Jean-Luc
    Big Brother


    Did y'all watch the original 34 sec blurb on youtube? Unless there is a more sinister context to it (and, yes, Google owns youtube), Schmidt's not saying much that isn't common sense. Yes, search engines retain search data. And, yes, gmail... retains emails.

    If you really really don't want anyone to know what you were doing... what were you doing? Most of the time nobody would really care, except for folks who want to get at your credit card numbers. Or maybe your partner would be interested to know you are on online dating sites. And your porn habits might be of interest to your employer. Maybe. But the masses of humanity could not care less. Though the answer might be different if you were a politician.

    For the rest? Google actually _really_ doesn't care, because they already use your habits to show you ads. So their main incentive to be sneaky is already taken care of.

    Right after his "privacy nuking statement" he goes out of his way to remind us that well, yes, Google can be legally forced to release information. That doesn't sound all that nefarious, warning people of that risk.

    So it really boils down to whether Google is going to disclose your information to a non-governmental third party. Such as your spouse and employer. Or anybody else, really. If they did, I'd be out in a jiffy but it would be killing the golden goose, given how much money they are making based on targeted ads.

    As for the government, I do expect Google to ask for warrants or their equivalent binding legal requests. I _know_ Yahoo didn't put up much of a fight with China on occasion, not sure what Google's record is.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Use Scroogle instead.

    Google is WAY, WAY better than bing. Yes, it's privacy policy is dodgy, but there's a way around that while still getting google results:

    Gets google search results without divulging your IP address.

    Combine that with the FIrefox addon CustomizeGoogle, - set it to anonymise your cookie's UID (even just doing this without using scroogle gives significantly more privacy than searching naked, although your IP address is still logged with each search), and you're all set - no need to use bing.

    BING: But It's Not Google :)

  46. Dan 55 Silver badge


    Yes, I meant 'Add bing'.

    Although I've since discovered that you can click a link on the page to get the same effect. There's a reason why you should stick with the standardised way of doing things. And that reason is so that us old farts don't get confused.

  47. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Bing any better in privacy?

    Why should Microsoft be trusted more than Google for privacy?

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