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The value of Google’s Firefox browser deal

Google has thrown the creators of the Firefox Web browser a lifeline.

On Tuesday, Firefox-maker Mozilla announced that it had renewed a “mutually beneficial revenue agreement” with Google for at least three more years.

The deal basically means that Google remains the default search engine built-in to the Firefox Web browser, a privilege for which Google pays Mozilla an unspecified fee.

Since Google signed the original deal in 2004, the search giant has introduced its own Web browser, dubbed Google Chrome. And with Chrome now used by one in four Web surfers, speculation had grown that Google might not renew the Firefox licensing deal, depriving the non-profit Mozilla of a vital revenue source (according to AllThingsD, which broke the news of Tuesday’s deal renewal, Google contributed 84 percent of Mozilla’s $123 million in 2010 revenue).

The value of the current Google deal with Mozilla is not being disclosed. Whatever the amount is though, it’s safe to say that it represents pocket change to Google, which has $43 billion in cash and short term securities on its balance sheet.

And with Google facing antitrust scrutiny for a variety of business practices, spending a little money to keep a rival browser alive has important PR value.

Tech wrap: Google unveils Chromebook

Google took the wraps off two Chromebook laptop PCs after nearly two years of delays and touts of its Chrome operating system as an alternative to Microsoft Windows. Samsung and Acer laptops using Chrome OS will go on sale June 15, as the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine tries to entice people to do more on the Web. As with Android, Chrome software will be free, but is expected to spur people to use the Internet more often and search for more things, potentially boosting Google’s Internet ads business.

Despite recent indications that Google is priming Chrome for use in tablets, Google says that it is “fully focused on notebooks” for the foreseeable future, writes Mashable’s Ben Parr.

Facebook users’ personal information could have been accidentally leaked to third parties, in particular advertisers, over the past few years, Symantec said in its official blog. Third-parties would have had access to personal information such as profiles, photographs and chat, and could have had the ability to post messages, the security software maker said.  Facebook had taken steps to resolve the issue, the blog post said.

Firefox 4 rounds out action-packed Web browser season

Apparently March is Web browser season.Firefox4

On Monday, Microsoft unveiled Internet Explorer 9, the latest update of its browser, and trumpeted its 2.3 million downloads in the first 24 hours of availability. Earlier this month, Google unveiled the newest version of its browser, Chrome 10.

Now it’s Mozilla’s turn. More than a year in the making, Firefox 4 will be make its debut on Tuesday, bringing faster performance and a handful of new features.

And in a few weeks, the folks at Mozilla say they will release the first full-fledged version of Firefox for smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system (don’t expect an iPhone version of Firefox anytime soon, as Mozilla executives say that Apple’s terms of service prohibit third-party apps that boast standalone browser engines).

Google and Microsoft – lunch of the frenemies at Sun Valley

Google is moving to steal Microsoft’s lunch with its plan to release a PC operating system that competes with Windows. But when Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates crossed paths in Sun Valley on Thursday, lunchtime was all pleasantries.

As Gates was walking out from one of the morning conference panels for lunch, reporters naturally surrounded him to ask for his thoughts about the new Chrome OS announced by Google this week.

Before Gates had a chance to answer though, Schmidt appeared from behind and joked “it would be better if you don’t make that comment,” provoking laughter all around.

For Google, less is more versus Microsoft

– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own – 
   
By Eric Auchard 

Sergey Brin eyes fellow Google co-founder Larry Page at launch of Google Chrome in Mountain View California on Sept. 2, 2008.

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – Google has entered the very lair of Microsoft by launching its own computer operating software.

Google makes a TV ad

Google built its business on the advertising shift from traditional media, like TV and newspapers, to the Internet.

But as Google strives to jump-start its fledgling Chrome Web browser, the company apparently still sees value in good old-fashioned mediums like broadcast television.

Google said it would begin advertising Chrome on various TV networks beginning this weekend.

Google’s Chrome out of beta, but only Windows-friendly

Google has decided its Chrome Web browser is all grown up-or. Or at least it has outgrown its beta label.

Google launched its fifteenth release of Chrome on Thursday morning, marking the browser’s first step outside the test phase. After absorbing 101 days of user feedback, Google says the latest version is equipped with improved audio and video performance, bookmark features and privacy controls.

Google tests show Chrome runs 1.5 times faster than when the browser first launched in September, according to a Google spokesperson.

Getting ready for Google Explorer aka Chrome

googlechromepic.jpgGoogle is getting into the browser business with the launch of Google Chrome, a browser designed for today’s Internet user with better capabilities for video and other complex Web programs.

The comic strip on the left walks news users through the Open Source browser project and can be found here.

Many commentators see this as a challenge to Microsoft which launched Internet Explorer 8 last week. IE is on 70 percent of most U.S. personal computers but is vulnerable to new challengers. Not to long ago it had close to 90 percent of the market but in recent years Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Apple’s Safari have eaten into that share.