SAN FRANSISCO – Tech giant Yahoo will now replace online leader Google as the default search engine on Firefox’s internet browsers in the US signaling 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 switchover will take place in the US in December, putting an end to a decade-old partnership between Google and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Firefox browser. The tension between Google and Mozilla had been rising since Google’s introduction of the Chrome browser in 2008 began to undercut Firefox.
Google’s current contract with Mozilla expires at the end of this month, opening an opportunity for Yahoo to pounce.
Even though Chrome is now more widely used, Firefox still has a loyal audience that makes more than 100 billion worldwide search requests annually.
Yahoo is hoping to impress Firefox users as the Sunnyvale, California, company sets out to prove that it’s still adept at Internet search after leaning on Microsoft’s technology for most of the results on Yahoo’s own website for the past four years.
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.
Meanwhile, in most European countries, including the UK, Firefox users will not see a change, according to Mozilla. However, Yahoo said the deal “provides a framework for exploring future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets”.
As part of the five-year partnership, Yahoo will introduce an “enhanced search experience” for US Firefox users, featuring a clean, modern and immersive design. This will be rolled out to all Yahoo users in early 2015.
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