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Mozilla man recommends Bing

Mozilla man recommends Bing

Asa Dotzler - director of community development at the Mozilla Foundation - recommends Firefox users move to Bing for search.

A prominent member of the Mozilla Foundation is urging Firefox users to ditch Google in favour of Microsoft's Bing - citing privacy concerns.

As reported over on Ars Technica, Mozilla's director of community development Asa Dotzler has used his personal blog - speaking purely for himself and not for the Foundation - to warn users that recent comments by Google's chief executive officer Eric Schmidt represent a major concern for the cause of privacy on the web.

In the blog post, Dotzler points to comments made by Schmidt stating that "if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" on Google and that "search engines -- including Google -- do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."

Incensed by the off-hand way Schmidt dealt with concerns regarding privacy from his users, Dotzler made the interesting move of encouraging Firefox users to switch their default search engine to Microsoft's Bing via a handy add-on that does just that. In a topsy-turvy world where Microsoft is the good guy and Google the bad, Dotzler points out that Bing's published privacy policy is much more robust than that offered by Google.

Although the comments came from a personal rather than professional perspective, they still represent a departure for a Mozilla Foundation member: for years Firefox has defaulted to Google as its default search engine, and the Foundation makes around 97 percent of all its revenue from referring searchers to Google's site.

Do you agree with Dotzler that Schmidt's comments regarding privacy are concerning, or is privacy on the web an overrated concept? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

41 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
KoenVdd 11th December 2009, 10:23 Quote
With a beard like that you know you can trust this bloke.
AlexB 11th December 2009, 10:29 Quote
I was going to say! - What a beard!
Javerh 11th December 2009, 10:33 Quote
The beard doesn't lie! And it has a point too.
mi1ez 11th December 2009, 10:38 Quote
I feel today will be spent researching as opposed to doing my job... Oh well!
shanky887614 11th December 2009, 10:38 Quote
you guys remind me of an episode of top gear
a quote from clarkson
"beardy mans wife, also with beard"
l3v1ck 11th December 2009, 10:46 Quote
Doesn't Google pay Mozilla to be the default search engine in Firefox?
If so, they won't like this.
proxess 11th December 2009, 10:50 Quote
I'd trust him more if he had an afro.
shanky887614 11th December 2009, 10:52 Quote
what and a white tuxedo as well?
Tyrmot 11th December 2009, 11:00 Quote
TBH, I agree with the beard. The fact that CEO of a major company like Google, which obviously has access to huge amounts of personal data, should simply dismiss the argument with the 'nothing to hide fallacy' should worry anybody with half a brain who uses their offerings on a regular basis.

The 'nothing to hide argument' is very well deconstructed in the following paper -
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565

Well worth a read so that the next time someone tries to argue that 'if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear' you can tell them exactly why they're wrong (and an idiot into the bargain)
Burnout21 11th December 2009, 11:06 Quote
problem is google is number 1 for a search engine, bing i find a little hard to use, layout is horrid. My university defaults to bing.

Other than google and bing what search engines are worth while?
Phil Rhodes 11th December 2009, 11:32 Quote
Can we not sidestep these issues to a large extent by disallowing google from setting cookies?
Denis_iii 11th December 2009, 11:49 Quote
was about to switch gmail account to be my main but decided not to and am going to stop using chrome but instead use firefox/bing
google's been worrying me for awhile now and this is the final straw
SNIPERMikeUK 11th December 2009, 12:47 Quote
What A Beard....
Zurechial 11th December 2009, 13:11 Quote
Because privacy policies are the be-all and end-all of what a company actually does with the data it collects on you amirite?

One's as bad as the other and privacy policies are worth sweet ****-all in the face of things like the patriot act.
If you really have something to hide you'll be doing more to conceal it than just switching which search engine you use.

I don't feel that companies like Google or Microsoft should be allowed to do whatever they want with our information, but then who's really going to stop them at this stage and does it really make a difference in the real world, regardless of whether or not you have anything to hide?
okenobi 11th December 2009, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Because privacy policies are the be-all and end-all of what a company actually does with the data it collects on you amirite?

One's as bad as the other and privacy policies are worth sweet ****-all in the face of things like the patriot act.
If you really have something to hide you'll be doing more to conceal it than just switching which search engine you use.

I don't feel that companies like Google or Microsoft should be allowed to do whatever they want with our information, but then who's really going to stop them at this stage and does it really make a difference in the real world, regardless of whether or not you have anything to hide?

Whilst I agree that the patriot act doesn't care which search engine you use (or ironically named it is, incidentally), if a ton of Google users suddenly switch to Bing - they'll notice. Also, the man's point is why use the service of someone who's policy isn't up to scratch.

I agree with him. And yes, the beard is quite literally awesome.
airchie 11th December 2009, 16:40 Quote
LMFAO @ DragunovHUN's link!!! :D:D:D

"If you want to opt-out, you too can toil in the hinterlands and die young..." :D:D
Bluefan 11th December 2009, 16:49 Quote
I tried bing once, it couldn't find what I wanted. Google didn't got bing with a bad product, I think their search engine is just that good.

I do worry a lot about my privacy, and I think the beard guy has a good point, I do have things to hide, just like everybody does. Life's boring without anything to hide (or welcome to 1984). But switching to bing just isn't it. Not because of google. but because of bing.
whiskers 11th December 2009, 18:15 Quote
I've been growing more and more suspicious of Google recently with all their new services coming out and trying to take over every brunch of our tech-infested lives.
They read our email, watch our electricity usage, know what we search for, know which sites we visit (DNS service/Chrome/reader/web traffic analytics), know whom you're calling (Android), know what documents you're working on (wave/docs), know where you travel (maps/phone gps apps), soon will know what you do on your computer (Chrome OS/Google Desktop) and if the vision of internet storage ever becomes true, will have access to your files.

I don't wear a tinfoil hat, but such omnipresence in all spheres of technology is certainly worrisome. In a sci-fi movie fantasy, at some point in the future someone at Google will be able to push a button and distribute software to a very large portion of the population, whether it runs on your phone, your PC, or maybe your blender by that point.

Now, following the old-age argument of "why do you worry if someone examines your data if you have nothing to hide", someone might say - "this is tin-foil conspiracy-theorist nonsense..." but I say "there shouldn't be a possibility of someone examining my data". I do not feel comfortable with Google's omnipresence. There is just too much Google in our internets!

Whew, all righty then, I will get back to reading this feed in Google reader now.
flaming_goat 11th December 2009, 18:18 Quote
Never tried Bing before - but im giving it a go as this man has a beard!
flaming_goat 11th December 2009, 19:23 Quote
large beard = +5 persuasion
gnutonian 11th December 2009, 19:29 Quote
Sod Google. And Bing.

Google goodness without the badness:
https://ssl.scroogle.org

Other privacy-respecting search engines:
https://eu.ixquick.com and http://uk.yauba.com

;)
mrjonjonz 11th December 2009, 19:34 Quote
I am switching to Bing because of this, but how about DNS service, my local ISP's dns service is often clogged and slow, so I switched to using OpenDNS however, which is faster and more reliable, but I just read their privacy policy and they too are storing ip specific histories indefinitely which really troubles me. Searches can easily be taken out of context and used to portray wrongdoing. Are there any good free dns services that do not keep extensive IP specific search logs?
RichCreedy 11th December 2009, 20:40 Quote
oh no not the privacy thing again.
crazyceo 11th December 2009, 23:54 Quote
I'll hold my hands up guys and reiterate my complete dislike for ANY google product. Google has always been about adware, making money off YOUR clicks and not about the true benefit of the users. However, they have produced some very good products and they are clearly the search engine leader at the moment. That has been based on word of mouth and lack of a decent alternative, until now. I am a Microsoft fanboy but even the most anti-Microsoft fanboy must appreciate that they have got it right when they purchased Bing and replaced Live Search.

When you have one of the most respected director's of Mozilla stated a pretty big flaw and recommending a Microsoft product (I mean WTF?) then it's time to think hard about those Google loyalties.

A good question will be how will this act with Chrome and it's take up?
okenobi 12th December 2009, 09:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskers
at some point in the future someone at Google will be able to push a button and distribute software to a very large portion of the population, whether it runs on your phone, your PC, or maybe your blender by that point.

Loving the subtle Enemy of the State reference

On a more serious note, I quite agree that Google's omnipresence is worrying. Especially given the continued proliferation of tech in our lives.

As human beings we all need a certain level of privacy to have healthy minds. It varies from person to person, but if everyone was aware of your every thought, feeling and action it would make communication as we know almost impossible. That could leads to all sorts of mental health problems. Extreme I know, but there's a reason for the ego and id, conscious and sub-concious etc. Part of us must remain hidden from others (even ourselves sometimes) for us to retain our sense of who we are amongst the noise of the 6 billion others here.

Moreover, even if that wasn't a problem, Google have no good reason to have access to all this data other than to profit from us as individuals. If someone else (malicious governments for example) got hold of it, it could be used for many and varied nefarious purposes and there's just no need to be exposed to that kind of risk for no benefit in my view.
crazyceo 12th December 2009, 13:06 Quote
I also see this as a major stumbling block to Andriod mobile phone software. Would you want a third party knowing who you are calling, texting, messaging, searching on your mobile because they will have their claws into those details as well. Google have stated it's just for ease of use to predict patterns to increase performances but come on, if the software was as good as they claimed they should'nt need the data in the first place.
okenobi 12th December 2009, 13:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I also see this as a major stumbling block to Andriod mobile phone software. Would you want a third party knowing who you are calling, texting, messaging, searching on your mobile because they will have their claws into those details as well. Google have stated it's just for ease of use to predict patterns to increase performances but come on, if the software was as good as they claimed they should'nt need the data in the first place.

There's (arguably) nothing wrong with noticing what's being searched for in order to optimise future searches. However, there IS something wrong with retaining that data indefinitely and keeping IP specific records that could be used to identify individuals.
TSR2 12th December 2009, 15:28 Quote
Is Mozilla feeling short of cash and trying to get Google to pay more for their search deal then?
cyrilthefish 12th December 2009, 16:04 Quote
One thing confuses me about this...

If you've decided you don't trust Google, fair enough i suppose.
But how do you make the jump from not trusting Google to trusting MS more than Google? :?

If i wanted to switch away from Google, bing would be the last search engine i'd use
quack 12th December 2009, 16:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I am a Microsoft fanboy but even the most anti-Microsoft fanboy must appreciate that they have got it right when they purchased Bing and replaced Live Search.
If you are such a fanboy as you say you are then you should know that Microsoft didn't purchase the Bing search engine.
Chicken76 12th December 2009, 17:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
One thing confuses me about this...

If you've decided you don't trust Google, fair enough i suppose.
But how do you make the jump from not trusting Google to trusting MS more than Google? :?

If i wanted to switch away from Google, bing would be the last search engine i'd use

He's right. Let's not trade a broken nail for a broken arm. Bing is not the solution. As others have suggested, use a proxy.
thehippoz 12th December 2009, 17:47 Quote
so use google for your everyday normal searches.. then when you grow a beard like that- switch to bing and do whatever you do :D
okenobi 12th December 2009, 17:52 Quote
crazyceo 12th December 2009, 18:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I am a Microsoft fanboy but even the most anti-Microsoft fanboy must appreciate that they have got it right when they purchased Bing and replaced Live Search.
If you are such a fanboy as you say you are then you should know that Microsoft didn't purchase the Bing search engine.

They purchased the search engine company and called it Bing and removed Live Search. So when I stated they purchased Bing technically it was correct and too the point and didn't need this explanation. And you point was?


"One thing confuses me about this...

If you've decided you don't trust Google, fair enough i suppose.
But how do you make the jump from not trusting Google to trusting MS more than Google? :?

If i wanted to switch away from Google, bing would be the last search engine i'd use"

That statement is hilarous! This pretty cool guy at Mozilla seems to think so and you see it here on this site and other respected sites more and more now. Bing wont replace Google adware search but users are reporting better service than Google and Google are rushing out updates and newer versions to keep hold of their huge market share.
gnutonian 12th December 2009, 20:57 Quote
Quote:
This pretty cool guy at Mozilla seems to think so
I'm a pretty cool guy, too. I think you should smash your head against the wall. Because I'm a pretty cool guy you're going to do so, right?

Seriously, one guy on the internet tells you something is a good idea and you accept it? I hope for you and your family you never accidently stumble across a suicide tips website.


Exchanging one corporation for another is just switching from one evil to another. Scroogle's been mentioned, and I put two other links to search engines who have no interest in you or retaining your data.

They may not be Google or Bing (*) but they work pretty good, too.


(*) Yes, I did use Google's image search for that. Because nobody should be ashamed for wanking over good ol' Chandler.
idontwannaknow 13th December 2009, 08:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo

They purchased the search engine company and called it Bing and removed Live Search. So when I stated they purchased Bing technically it was correct and too the point and didn't need this explanation. And you point was?

Sorry, I know this is getting OT, but... you're wrong. Bing is an upgrade and re-branding of the Live Search engine. There were probably some company acquisitions at about the same time, and some of them probably contributed to the final product. But the core technology is Microsoft.

Back on-topic: I wonder if data retention and identification is what concerns Dotzler. If Google indefinitely retains information that can be linked straight back to you personally, while Microsoft tends to aggregate data and doesn't keep it for long, that would be a huge difference, and very germane to Schmidt's comments about the Patriot Act (you can't give the government data you don't have!). Note: both companies would be able to achieve many of their ends (relevance, ad targeting) without actually keeping the data or its source. I'm just speculating, of course, but I find it difficult to imagine that someone like Dotzler (beard or no) would make such comments lightly.
crazyceo 13th December 2009, 12:39 Quote
Actually, it was a specific company purchase that changed the face of Microsofts search engine. Live search suffered for being an inferior copy of googles search calculations. I can't actually remember the company name Microsoft purchased but I do know it had the working formula ready to publish and Microsoft bought the company and Bing was born. That's why you hear on this site and many others the positive views on Bing and it was down to this specific purchase.

Funny how when a "Pretty cool guy!" that everyone trusted a week ago shakes the tree, you all start whinin'.
greg54 13th December 2009, 17:17 Quote
Here is one that doesn't keep your data at all
http://www.startpage.com/eng/
tron 13th December 2009, 18:20 Quote
It looks like this amazing 'beard of truth' comes complete with a built-in face and glasses.

Anyway, I think all REAL MEN should have beards like this.
delriogw 17th December 2009, 01:33 Quote
i find it amusing that you're all trusting him because he has a beard (i know some of you are probably joking but even so) when many studies over the years have shown that beards reduce trust because they block the visibility of facial expressions that we use to determine mood and truth etc
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