I was shocked when I saw news of Mozilla’s Firefox native integration with Pocket; the popular read-it-later bookmarking service. This is the first time I can remember when Mozilla has integrated a commercial third-party service. It feels a little odd.
I understand why they might have done this. My guess is that Pocket is another revenue stream for Mozilla. I can appreciate the need for money; it keeps the employees happy, and the Firefox updates rolling out in a timely fashion. Not to mention funding research projects like Rust and Servo that are very exciting for the future of the web.
I can understand this, and yet it still feels weird to me. Not bad, or too uncomfortable, just a little odd. Still, that is how the slippery slope starts, with a slow steady boil. This the part that makes me feel the most ill-at-ease; how long until the next commercial integration.
Mozilla probably could have built this kind of service from scratch, but must have decided that supporting applications on these different platforms from iOS to Kindle and Android to Windows wasn’t what it wanted to do.
I would have preferred Mozilla develop their own solution, but Pocket was an easy choice. They have the servers, and the service; built, ready, and working. Their brand in this niche does not hurt either. It looks to be a win-win for both sides.
So in truth it is a benefit for those who use both, and not even an annoyance for those who do not. My hope is that this weird feeling I have fades away into nothing; and the cause of it, becomes but a footnote in the long, free, and open source history of Firefox.