Yahoo dethrones Google as default Firefox search tool

Yahoo said the five-year deal will widen its reach, but it's unclear by how much

Mozilla has picked Yahoo to be the default search engine for its Firefox browser in the U.S., deposing Google in a new five-year partnership announced on Wednesday.

Google has been the default search tool in Firefox since 2004 but its agreement came up for renewal this year and Mozilla said it was making the change to promote "innovation and competition."

Yahoo called the deal its most important partnership in five years, and said it will expand its reach in search. But it's unclear how much the agreement will really lift Yahoo's fortunes.

Firefoxs share of the browser market has been in decline, and in the past year it slipped behind that of Google Chrome, according to figures from Net Applications. Microsofts Internet Explorer is still way in front.

On smartphones and tablets, a critical growth area for Yahoo, Firefox barely registers, with Chrome, Safari and the Android browser all dominant.

Still, the deal will put Yahoo's search engine in front of more users and is a win against Google in that regard. Firefox users search the Web more than 100 billion times per year globally, the companies said. The deal also opens the door for other integrations with Mozilla in future, Yahoo said, though it didn't provide details.

"Our agreement [with Google] came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options," Firefox said in a blog post.

While Yahoo will be the default search engine for Firefox in the U.S., Yandex Search will become the default in Russia, and Baidu will continue to be the default in China, Mozilla said. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search tools will continue to be offered as options, it said. Google will continue to power the safe browsing and geolocation features of Firefox, Mozilla said.

"In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence, and positions us to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web," Mozilla said.

"In the end, each of the partnership options available to us had strong, improved economic terms reflecting the significant value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem. But one strategy stood out from the rest."

It's not difficult to change the default search tool in a web browser, but many users don't bother, especially non-tech savvy ones, so having the default position is valuable.

"This is the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years and we're so proud that Mozilla has chosen us as their long-term partner in search," CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a Tumblr post.

Yahoo will also introduce an updated interface for its search tool with a "clean modern and immersive design," it said. The new interface will reach Firefox users in the U.S. next month, and Yahoo users globally in early 2015, it said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesYahooGooglesocial networkingsocial mediainternetsearch enginesmozilla

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?