How the next Java update could make Yahoo your default search provider

Yahoo has cut a deal with Oracle to promote Yahoo alongside its Java technology

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, discusses a new search partnership during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Santa Clara, California, on June 24, 2015.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, discusses a new search partnership during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Santa Clara, California, on June 24, 2015.

Next time you're prompted to update the Java software on your computer, pay attention or you might become a Yahoo user without realizing it.

The search company has cut a deal with Oracle to promote Yahoo search alongside future updates to Oracle's Java technology, which runs on most PCs. Starting this month, when people are prompted to update to the next version of Java, they'll be asked if they want to make Yahoo their default search engine on Chrome and Internet Explorer.

The box to reply in the affirmative will be checked by default, the Wall Street Journal reported, so those not paying attention might find themselves using Yahoo search even if they didn't mean to.

CEO Marissa Mayer announced the deal at Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. It's the latest partnership the search company has signed to promote its services.

In December, Yahoo replaced Google as the default search service in Mozilla's Firefox browser. That deal has been profitable, Mayer said Wednesday, without giving details.

Yahoo is also said to be angling to become the default search in Apple's Safari browser, when Apple's deal with Google expires this year.

The deals are intended to grow Yahoo's meager share of the search market. At the end of April, Google led the pack with 64 percent of desktop search traffic in the U.S., followed by Microsoft with 20 percent and Yahoo with less than 13 percent, according to comScore.

Java runs on billions of PCs worldwide, including 90 percent of PCs in the U.S. The deal with Oracle is for three years, Mayer said.

Yahoo is also working to integrate its search product with third-party apps, through a software development kit released earlier this year. Last week, Yahoo said its search service had been integrated into TouchPal, the default keyboard app on some Android smartphones.

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

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