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In one sentence

Productization is the choice of default search engines, content and protocol handlers, bookmarks, links to recommended sites on the in-product pages etc.

As part of localization

The web services that make up for the productization of Mozilla software are often specific to a local market. For example, a search provider can deliver a very good quality of search results — but only in a specific country or language, and we have to take this into account when considering default search engines for a locale. Hence the need of customizing the set of default web services on a per-locale basis, in order to ensure a good user experience across all locales.

Purpose of productization

There are two main purposes of adding default web services to Mozilla products:

  1. provide users with useful and relevant content, and
  2. demonstrate certain features of the product.

The first one (provide users with useful and relevant content) is obvious: we want to improve our users’ experience on the Web, so we provide a couple of well-thought suggestions for different services. For example, we ship Firefox with 6 or 7 search engine plug-ins to make users’ lives easier when they’re looking for information, translation, products, multimedia, spelling and definitions etc. Another example: when the user clicks on a mailto: link, we suggest a couple of possible handlers chosen from the applications installed on their computer. But we also suggest a few web-based clients (like Yahoo! Mail and GMail), so that if the user happens to use one of these in the browser, they don’t have to configure them.

The second purpose (demonstrate certain features of the product) is equally important: by providing these default services, we demonstrate particular features of the product, the ones which otherwise wouldn’t be as discoverable. For example, putting one sample news feed on the Bookmarks Toolbar in new profiles in Firefox helps in learning about the Live Bookmarks. Including a couple of search engines instead of one in the Search Toolbar can help users understand that they can add as many plug-in as they wish. Also the Getting Started page in Firefox was created with this goal in mind: to show users how to get the most out of Firefox and the Web in general.