Google hires top Kiwi talent

Firefox lead engineer off to work for the search engine giant

The New Zealander who spear-headed development work on Firefox, the browser that is causing Microsoft quite a few headaches, has a new job. Unfortunately, Ben Goodger can't say what it is he'll be doing for the search engine giant.

Goodger was lead engineer on the Firefox project and has created an international stir with his announcement that he's been hired by Google. News sites have been rife with comment and speculation on his position and Google, in its typically understated manner, declined to comment on it. International media spokeswoman Debbie Frost would only say that Goodger is a "a regular employee but that half of his time is donated back to the Mozilla Foundation so he can continue their work on Firefox."

Google fueled speculation that it was preparing to build its own browser by buying the Gbrowser.com domain name last year although Google's founders deny any such plans.

Reuters estimates Firefox has been downloaded around 20 million times since reaching its 1.0 milestone and has a market share of around 5%.

Google has expanded on its core Internet search engine capability and offers email (Gmail), a blogging service (Blogger), a price-comparison site (Froogle) and a news site (Google News). The company also announced a test service to search TV programmes.

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