Sagacious Himself — brevity in circumlocution: never blague — suffering genius

December 24, 2005

himself is leery of google

Filed under: category euthanized,Geeky goodness — Sagacious Himself @ 10:48 pm

In June 2005, we read that a Silicon Valley blogger with alleged insider information was reporting that the Mozilla Foundation was raking in $30 million annually from their Google connection. To substantiate this figure, we asked the tax-exempt Foundation for a copy of their Form 990. They are required by law to provide copies. We want the correct figure for their 2004 Google income, and are also curious about whether they filed a 990-T to pay taxes on this sum as "unrelated business income."

The Foundation tells us that they have filing extensions that give them until November 2005 to file this form, and no information is currently available. Various officers have declined to comment on their Google income to reporters over the past several months. Their 2003 form shows total revenue of $2.4 million from donations that helped Mozilla Foundation get started, and that seems reasonable. But if we're talking about tens of millions from Google in 2004, this changes the character of their operation considerably.

On August 3, 2005, the Foundation announced that they are restructuring by spinning off the Mozilla Corporation, a for-profit subsidiary. This tends to confirm the rumors about tens of millions of dollars from Google. We sent emails to Mr. Mitch Kapor and Ms. Mitchell Baker, the Chair and President, asking for the two items that will appear on the Form 990 in November. It looks like the Foundation is buying time to get their legal affairs in order, and we are not likely to get any answers.

Apparently the bulk of the money from Google is due to Mozilla's agreement to make Google the default engine in the Firefox search box. When a Firefox user clicks on an ad from a Google-box search, Mozilla gets a cut of Google's profit. A couple of months ago it was discovered that Google is also prefetching the top result for all searches done from the Google search box. This means you end up with cookies from sites you never visit, and much bandwidth is wasted in the process. Fortunately, you can disable this "feature" by entering about:config in the address bar and then scrolling down to network.prefetch-next and toggling it to false. You can also change the default search box to any of nearly 2,000 plug-ins that can be downloaded from Mozilla.

There are other Google connections in Firefox.

This is why I've used the new Firefox CCK to scrub out google integration, and set the default search to a scroogle proxy

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