Google to Firefox users: Dump Yahoo for us

After striking a deal late last year, Yahoo has been the default search engine for Firefox users in the US for the past few months. But Google wants them back.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Using Yahoo as your default search on Firefox? Google has tweeted instructions on how to switch to, well, Google Search.

Google is trying to persuade users of the Firefox browser to ditch Yahoo as their default search engine.

In November, Firefox-maker Mozilla cut a deal in which Yahoo would take over in the US as the "default search experience on Firefox across mobile and desktop," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced at the time. Mozilla's goal was to work with a more flexible search engine that didn't also compete with its own product as Google does with its Chrome browser. Prior to the switch, Google had been the default search in Firefox since 2004.

And just what has Google been doing to win back Firefox users?

The search giant has been displaying not-so-subtle messages on its home page asking Firefox users a couple of questions: Do you want to make Google your default search engine? Do you want to make Google your homepage? You can answer "Sure" or "No thanks."

On Wednesday, Google posted a tweet with the line: "This one's for all the Google Search-loving Firefox fans out there." The tweet showed an image of how you change your default search engine back to Google. It also displayed a link to a page with steps on how to make Google your search engine.

The number of searches is key to companies like Yahoo and Google. More searches mean more chances for users to see advertisements, especially those associated with search terms. And that makes advertisers happy and willing to spend more money at search engines that deliver results. The default search engine is used when you type your query in the location bar, the search bar or the start page, so it's in effect no matter how or where you search in the browser.

In November, Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson expressed the view that many Firefox users wouldn't bother to change the default search settings away from Yahoo. "Google should be concerned," Dawson said. "This could mean a significant switch in market share away from Google toward Yahoo." And that shift has already started.

ComScore's US desktop search engine rankings for December showed a 1.6 percent increase in search for Yahoo sites and a 1.6 percent decrease for Google sites. Google by far still dominates the market with a 65 percent share, compared with Yahoo's 11.8 percent. But Google wants to make sure it retains that dominance.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With such a huge chunk of the search engine market, Google is certainly in no danger of losing its dominant status. But with advertisers trying to determine where to spend their ad dollars on Web searches, it's only natural the company would try to woo those lost Firefox users.

(Via Search Engine Land)