Mozilla is scrambling to deal with Google's decision to drop the Google Toolbar for Firefox, according to notes on Mozilla's website.
Earlier this week, Google announced it was killing Google Toolbar for Firefox, and would not be updating the add-on to support Firefox 5 or future versions of the open-source browser.
[ Get your websites up to speed with HTML5 today using the techniques in InfoWorld's HTML5 Deep Dive PDF how-to report. | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld's "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]
Mozilla shipped Firefox 5 a month ago.
"For Firefox users, many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox are now already built right into the browser," said Google in a message Tuesday. "Therefore, while Google Toolbar for Firefox works on versions up to and including Firefox 4 only, it will not be supported on Firefox 5 and future versions."
Google Toolbar adds several features to Firefox, including syncing bookmarks to a Google account, translating foreign-language websites and sharing pages with others.
Although a Google spokeswoman today said that the company had been talking with Mozilla about the demise of the Toolbar "for some time now," the decision seemed to catch Mozilla by surprise. On Thursday, Christian Legnitto, Firefox's release manager, put out a call for a developer meeting later in the day to plan Mozilla's next moves.
Mozilla's biggest concern: Users running 2010's Firefox 3.6 have put off updating to Firefox 5 because the toolbar won't work with the newer version.
"We know that a large amount of [Firefox 3.6] users are not taking update offers to [Firefox] 5+ due to Google Toolbar incompatibility," the Thursday meeting's notes read.
Elsewhere, Mozilla called the toolbar's incompatibility with newer versions of Firefox "a top support issue."
Nearly a third of all Firefox users still run Firefox 3.6, according to the most recent statistics from Web metrics company StatCounter. Firefox 3.6's usage share is, in fact, more than double that of Firefox 4.
Mozilla highlighted two steps it wanted to take in an update to Firefox 3.6 that's currently scheduled to ship Aug. 16. "[We] need to support getting data out of the Toolbar," Mozilla's meeting notes read, "[and we] need to tell them the Toolbar is gone and not coming back."
But adding code to Firefox 3.6.20 may be tough because of the tight deadline: Developers are supposed to "freeze" the update's code Aug. 1, 10 days from today.
"If we are going to do something ... we have very little time as 3.6.20 code freeze is soon," said Mozilla.
Earlier this summer, Mozilla said that the August update might be the last for Firefox 3.6 . Mozilla has already halted security and other updates for 2009's Firefox 3.5, as well as for this year's Firefox 4.
Firefox users were generally unhappy with the Toolbar's retirement.