Firefox dumps Google, signs with Yahoo as default search engine

Firefox, Google, Timus Rak, Yahoo

Yahoo will replace Google as the default search engine on the Firefox web browser in the US, signalling Yahoo’s resolve to regain some of the ground that it has lost in the most lucrative part of the internet’s ad market.

The five-year alliance announced on Wednesday will end a decade-old partnership in the US between Google and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Firefox browser. The tensions between Google and Mozilla had been rising since Google’s introduction of the Chrome browser in 2008 began to undercut Firefox. Google’s contract with Mozilla expires at the end of November.

Even though Chrome is now more widely used, Firefox still has a loyal audience that makes more than 100bn search requests annually worldwide.

Besides dropping Google in the US, Mozilla is also shifting Firefox to the Baidu search engine in China and to Yandex in Russia. Firefox users still have the option to pull down a tab to pick Google and other search engines as their preferred way for looking up information online.

Yahoo is hoping to impress Firefox users as the company sets out to prove it is still adept at internet search after leaning on Microsoft’s technology for most of the results on Yahoo’s own website for four years.

Financial details of Yahoo’s Firefox contract were not disclosed. In a blogpost, Chris Beard, the Mozilla chief executive, said the new deal offered “strong, improved economic terms” while allowing Mozilla “to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the web”.

Google accounted for 90% or about $274m (£175m) of Mozilla’s royalty revenue in 2012. Mozilla has not released its annual report for last year.

Yahoo plans to unveil a “clean and modern” search engine on Firefox next month and roll out the new model on its own website early next year, according to its chief executive, Marissa Mayer.

The redesign will primarily affect how Yahoo’s search engine’s results are displayed and not the way that requests are processed. The search technology will continue to be provided by Microsoft as part of a 10-year deal Yahoo signed in 2009.