Google has been sharply criticised by Mozilla and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for its stance on user privacy, after Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in an interview on CNBC that users should not expect search engines to safeguard their private data.

Asa Dotzler, Firefox marketing project co-ordinator at Mozilla, argued that the remarks indicate that Google does not value its users' privacy.

"There is no ambiguity, no 'out of context' here," he said in a blog post, adding that Microsoft's Bing has a better privacy policy than Google and advising users on how to switch Firefox's search from Google to Bing.

The latest data released by research firm comScore claims that Google is used for around 65 per cent of US web searches, while Bing is used for under 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the EFF ridiculed Schmidt's remarks in a blog post, claiming that they are evidence that Google does not understand why privacy is important, and that they contrast with earlier comments by the company that privacy is important.

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