Studies estimate that 93% of all internet experiences begin with a query on a search engine. In most cases, that search takes place on Google: a March 2014 analysis showed that the popular service controls 67.5% of the search engine industry, placing well above its competitors, all of whom own less than 20%. However, thanks to a new deal, that superiority may be at risk: Yahoo! will replace Google as Mozilla Firefox’s default search browser.
For the past 10 years, Google has been the default search browser on Firefox’s Web browser in the United States. But despite this arrangement, tensions have been high ever since Google unveiled their Chrome web browser in 2008, drawing a considerable number of users away from Firefox. Despite a loyal audience that conducts over one billion search annually, experts say that Firefox has no choice but to become more competitive, and with Google’s contract with the company expiring at the end of November, the search engine will be replaced. The new agreement with Yahoo! is planned to last for five years.
This opportunity comes at an advantageous time for Yahoo!: the search engine is reportedly responsible for a mere 10.1% of searches, and the company’s own website has used Microsoft’s technology to generate its search results since 2010. This deal could be the perfect chance for Yahoo! to become a bigger threat to Google, and the company is duly taking action: CEO Marissa Mayer has announced that Yahoo! will unveil a redesigned search engine in December, before adding the same model to its own site in 2015. As part of their 10-year deal, the technology will continue to be supplied by Microsoft.
Despite these plans, however, it will likely be difficult for Yahoo! to overcome the legacy of their predecessor: in 2012, Google accounted for 90% of Mozilla’s royalty revenue. The company has yet to release its financial report for 2013. Likewise, the financial details of its partnership with Yahoo! have not been disclosed.
In addition to supplanting Google with Yahoo! in the U.S., Mozilla plans to switch to Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. Firefox users around the world still have the choice to opt out of using the default browser and switching to another choice, such as Google.