27 votes

Is there a Google-free future for Firefox?

18 comments

  1. [11]
    JXM
    Link
    To me (and it seems like many others), this is one of the major selling points of Firefox. It's not owned by a big company like Microsoft, Apple or Google. They aren't beholden to their corporate...

    Enhanced privacy and security have become the chief selling points of many niche browser makers, including rivals such as Vivaldi and Brave.

    To me (and it seems like many others), this is one of the major selling points of Firefox. It's not owned by a big company like Microsoft, Apple or Google. They aren't beholden to their corporate wishes. Or at least they won't be if they can find a way to make money without taking it from Google.

    The problem is that making your browser respect people's privacy doesn't make you any money...

    I also wonder how much longer Google will keep propping Mozilla up financially. It seems very reminiscent of the late 90s when Microsoft helped keep Apple afloat to allay anti-trust investigations.

    17 votes
    1. [10]
      paranoid_transdroid
      Link Parent
      I think is better f0r G00gle t0 supp0rt M0zilla s0 that they are n0t perceived as the bad guys and t0 av0id any further p0ssible legal issues f0r their m0n0p0listic attitudes, alth0ugh they can...

      I think is better f0r G00gle t0 supp0rt M0zilla s0 that they are n0t perceived as the bad guys and t0 av0id any further p0ssible legal issues f0r their m0n0p0listic attitudes, alth0ugh they can l0bby and buy all the senate if they wanted, s0 I d0n't really kn0w.

      2 votes
      1. JXM
        Link Parent
        They might be able to buy their way out of antitrust here in the US, but it seems like the rest of the world (the European Union in particular) are going after them.

        They might be able to buy their way out of antitrust here in the US, but it seems like the rest of the world (the European Union in particular) are going after them.

        2 votes
      2. [8]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Is there any particular reason you're substituting 'o' for '0'?

        Is there any particular reason you're substituting 'o' for '0'?

        3 votes
        1. Grimalkin
          Link Parent
          From their introductory post:

          From their introductory post:

          Btw, I'm new and my "o" key is br0ken, hell0!

          9 votes
        2. FishFingus
          Link Parent
          Their o key is broken. EDIT: No, seriously, it's broken.

          Their o key is broken.

          EDIT: No, seriously, it's broken.

          6 votes
        3. [5]
          paranoid_transdroid
          Link Parent
          im poor and i dont have enough money to buy another keyboard, someone reported me so i have to fix this or i can't write with "0"s anymore u.u

          im poor and i dont have enough money to buy another keyboard, someone reported me so i have to fix this or i can't write with "0"s anymore u.u

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Nodja
            Link Parent
            You can remap the 0 key to the o key, assuming you're on windows Download and install autohotkey Download this autohotkey script (ctrl+s on the page). Double click the file This will make 0 type o...

            You can remap the 0 key to the o key, assuming you're on windows

            1. Download and install autohotkey
            2. Download this autohotkey script (ctrl+s on the page).
            3. Double click the file

            This will make 0 type o and alt+0 type O.
            To disable the mapping just right click the tray icon that shows up when you load the file.

            4 votes
            1. wervenyt
              Link Parent
              They're not on Windows, as they said in another thread.

              They're not on Windows, as they said in another thread.

              2 votes
          2. tomf
            Link Parent
            Would something like this help? https://sourceforge.net/projects/gxkb/ Not sure if you can, but if you could have `0 come out as zero, you could map 0 as o on the base layer or something similar....

            Would something like this help? https://sourceforge.net/projects/gxkb/

            Not sure if you can, but if you could have `0 come out as zero, you could map 0 as o on the base layer or something similar.

            You can also use xmodmap if you're more comfortable with that. I've only done this for mapping HYPER, though.

            2 votes
          3. ohyran
            Link Parent
            Seriously? If you're in Sweden I can send you a keyboard. EDIT: if you need help remapping keys on Linux, holler EDIT2: Here is a method that would work on Elementary if they don't have a keyboard...

            Seriously? If you're in Sweden I can send you a keyboard.

            EDIT: if you need help remapping keys on Linux, holler

            EDIT2: Here is a method that would work on Elementary if they don't have a keyboard remap app https://askubuntu.com/questions/296155/how-can-i-remap-keyboard-keys

            2 votes
  2. [7]
    kimyon
    Link
    Depends on what kind of future Mozilla wants. I don't put much blame on them for being in a position where they currently are. Sure, they made some mistakes along the way, but Mozilla was never...

    Depends on what kind of future Mozilla wants. I don't put much blame on them for being in a position where they currently are. Sure, they made some mistakes along the way, but Mozilla was never powerful enough to defend its position in the market against a behemoth like Google. Google was going to eat their lunch either way.

    I think they can position themselves better going forward, though. They have a relatively good reputation, and people seem to care more about their privacy -- at least there's more recognition among the public that privacy is important and it needs to be preserved. However, because non-private tools are so convenient, people still opt-in to use such tools. Apple saw this opening in the market and tries to fill it as good as they can given the scale they operate in but Apple is a premium brand with an ecosystem of its own, which doesn't play so nice with other platforms. I think Firefox can fill this void. Provide users with security and privacy tools that give them real benefits. A subscription bundle that can include things like an email, calendar, storage, password manager, VPN (they're working on this) etc. and sell it at a reasonable price. Integrate these products with your browser without harming their functionality on other browsers -- make users feel like they're in charge. Basically, become the Android of the web on user privacy and security. Apple can have the premium segment of the market, no reason why Mozilla can't dominate the rest. (And the overall market like Android, because of the price-point and low barrier to entry.)

    This is obviously easier said than done. It'd require a lot of work with a sizable workforce and the monetary reward might be not as great as what Mozilla currently gets from Google, but at least it'd give them their autonomy. I feel like the situation Mozilla is in quite similar to where Twitter was a few years ago. Their goal was to take on Facebook, so they did a lot of stuff that harmed their product but they're not Facebook and they'll never have their scale. So realize what your product is, and figure out what more you can offer to the market given your position. Same goes for Mozilla. Firefox will never be the market leader in browsers again. It doesn't matter how hard they try. Google won. And Google can fund Mozilla indefinitely, if only to point them out when they're called on by the congress during an anti-trust hearing, but I don't think that should be the way to go.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      dblohm7
      Link Parent
      To be fair, that was never a goal for Firefox. Firefox needs to have a significant enough userbase to be able to influence the evolution of the web. It was never about winning browser wars....

      Firefox will never be the market leader in browsers again. It doesn't matter how hard they try.

      To be fair, that was never a goal for Firefox. Firefox needs to have a significant enough userbase to be able to influence the evolution of the web. It was never about winning browser wars.

      (Please don’t misconstrue this as satisfaction with the status quo.)

      13 votes
      1. kimyon
        Link Parent
        I may have gone overboard with the force of my argument, you're right. (I did try to ameliorate this in some way with my other comment in a side note). I do think Mozilla positioning itself better...

        I may have gone overboard with the force of my argument, you're right. (I did try to ameliorate this in some way with my other comment in a side note).

        I do think Mozilla positioning itself better in the market (both strategically and financially) would give them more power to influence things though -- even if these products don't affect their browser share in a drastic way.

        3 votes
    2. [3]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      I just don't see a lot of people paying for a subscription like that when they can get all of that (minus the VPN) for free through Google.

      I think Firefox can fill this void. Provide users with security and privacy tools that give them real benefits. A subscription bundle that can include things like an email, calendar, storage, password manager, VPN (they're working on this) etc. and sell it at a reasonable price.

      I just don't see a lot of people paying for a subscription like that when they can get all of that (minus the VPN) for free through Google.

      4 votes
      1. paranoid_transdroid
        Link Parent
        That's the issue that has been kind 0f affecting libre s0ftware in the last c0uple 0f years, hyperc0rp0rati0ns create the illusi0n 0f 0fferin services which require a big initial funding and...

        That's the issue that has been kind 0f affecting libre s0ftware in the last c0uple 0f years, hyperc0rp0rati0ns create the illusi0n 0f 0fferin services which require a big initial funding and m0nthly inc0mes t0 keep it alive f0r free, and that's alm0st never the case f0r this kinds 0f pr0jects where the budget is always tight. With0ut g0vernment regulati0n it is truly imp0ssible t0 keep and 0pen, decentralised web.

        5 votes
      2. kimyon
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I don't see a lot of people paying for a product they can otherwise get free either, but that doesn't mean there's no market there. That's why I drew the comparison with Twitter. Just as Twitter...

        I don't see a lot of people paying for a product they can otherwise get free either, but that doesn't mean there's no market there. That's why I drew the comparison with Twitter. Just as Twitter can't be Facebook, Mozilla can't be Google either. (Leaving the differences in their organizational structures aside, for the sake of my mediocre analogy.) But that doesn't mean they can't serve millions of people.

        Your note ("minus the VPN") actually makes a good case for my argument. Not every product in a bundle has to serve the user with equal amount of value. Think of an Amazon Prime subscription. You get free shipping, video, music, and storage services, exclusive deals, Twitch membership and so on. None of those products will carry the same amount of value for every person, but because of the abundance of choices, someone will care enough about one of those products that they'll pay for the annual membership. Prime's existence doesn't erase Netflix, Spotify or Dropbox from the market just because Amazon already includes whatever they're offering in its Prime membership. They exist together. Because people instinctively know that Amazon is a place where you go for shopping, not storing your family photos or listen to your favorite album. (I realize this sentence might seem absurd in a community where there are a lot of technically literate people. AWS, hello? But keep in mind, most people don't even know Instagram is part of Facebook.) For the same reason, Mozilla, known for its advocacy for the open web and privacy, can be a safe haven for those who want to pay for private products that just work, for a reasonable amount of money. I realize this would've been a harder proposition to sell people on a few years ago, but with the prevalence of subscription based pricing on digital goods, I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

        5 votes
    3. mxuribe
      Link Parent
      I've been saying this for so long now...Of course, I've only been yelling into a corner of my living room where i have my armchair...but, still, i think it is a rational avenue for Mozilla....

      A subscription bundle that can include things like an email, calendar, storage, password manager, VPN (they're working on this) etc. and sell it at a reasonable price...

      I've been saying this for so long now...Of course, I've only been yelling into a corner of my living room where i have my armchair...but, still, i think it is a rational avenue for Mozilla. @kimyon stated it quite well with...

      I don't see a lot of people paying for a product they can otherwise get free either, but that doesn't mean there's no market there...

      In fact, while, yes, the bulk of the online population will steer towards free/no-cost products, more and more often nowadays it feels like there is a segment that is more tuned into the privacy invasions from the Goliath internet firms, and is willing - and has the wherewithal - to pay for services. Maybe - and unfortunately - this segment might be affluent, but there is precedent for orgs to focus on the premium space instead of focusing on the value arena...the ol' "if they go low, you go high" approach - but in terms of business model and not morality. I'm by no means affluent, but i would pay Mozilla for such services, at least if they offered low-priced plans! (What i annually donate nowadays to them would simply be turned into my subscription fees.)

      4 votes