The next Firefox default search engine: Yahoo Search, and others

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 19, 2014
Updated • Nov 20, 2014

Google Search has been the default search engine of the browser for the past years with Google paying Mozilla money for that privilege.

While Mozilla put the money from the deal to good use, it made it dependent on that money at the same time.

Ever since the deal was announced (first back in 2004) I had a major concern: that Mozilla became too dependent on Google and that Google would not renew the deal.

Mozilla announced a new strategic partnership with Yahoo Inc. that makes Yahoo Search the default search engine in the United States on mobile and desktop platforms.

We do know that the partnership will span the next five years and that it involves the US market for now with options to expand to other markets in the near future.

That's however not the only big news in this regard. Instead of relying on a single worldwide partner, Mozilla decided to use a flexible system instead which allows for regional partnerships instead of a single global one.

As far as the deal with Yahoo is concerned, Yahoo plans to roll out a new "enhanced search experience" in December 2014 for Firefox users that features a "clean, modern and immersive design" that benefited from input from the Mozilla team.

Mozilla making Yahoo the default search engine of the browser is a major development for all parties. Google will lose access to the searches that Firefox users make, Yahoo will gain access to that, Firefox users get a different default search engine, and Mozilla a new partner.

Firefox users can change the default search engine of the browser easily.  The browser ships with a set of engines, Bing, Yahoo, Google, DuckDuckGo and several others, and offers options to add other search engines as well.

To change it simply click on the down arrow next to the search field and select another engine from the list.

firefox search engine

It is not clear yet if the deal will have an effect on existing Firefox installations that use the default search engine of the browser.

Now You: Why do you think Mozilla made the deal with Yahoo?

Update: Nicolas Nethercote shared additional details:

  1. All possible partners offered Mozilla improved economic terms.
  2. Mozilla had the option to continue its relationship with Google but decided to end it.
  3. Mozilla has agreements with Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China.

It seems that Mozilla decided to pick regional partners instead of a single worldwide partner.

Additional information are now available:

  1. Yahoo Search will support Do Not Track in Firefox.
  2. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia remain search engine options in the US.
  3. Firefox to ship with 61 search providers pre-installed across 88 different language versions
The next Firefox default search engine: Yahoo Search
Article Name
The next Firefox default search engine: Yahoo Search
Mozilla just announced that Yahoo Search will become the default search engine of the desktop and mobile Firefox web browser in the U.S.

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Blue said on November 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Mozilla’s default search engine was Google? That is strange as each time I installed it, it already had Yahoo installed as default and about seven others including Bing, Wiki, and Ask. I had to change it manually to Google. But if Google was the default search engine, there wasn’t any direct tools supporting it either like in Chrome.

    In Chrome from the context menu we can search for selected text or an image directly without typing anything in, or uploading any images. To do that from Mozilla I had to install a search add-on, which only worked for selected text and not images. For those I had to go over to the Google Image search and upload or drag the image over to the search bar directly.

    I do love that drag-n-drop feature Google Image search, has but I wish they’d make it smarter because to drag-n-drop, we’d have to have Explorer open and off to the side and in most cases partially off screen to make it overlap the drop box which is oddly centered in the screen. Thus forcing us to put the Explorer window off to the side in order to drag and drop an image onto that search bar.

    It would make more sense if that box either filled the whole screen, or off to the left side thus giving us more space to use both windowed applications. I can’t imagine the annoyance people still using 4:3 monitors are having over those of us with 16:9/10 monitors.

    For those who don’t mod their Explorer as I have, they won’t have the option to hide the tree portion of the Explorer window and may as I’ve done accidentally in the past, ended up dropping an image into another folder instead of onto the screen.

  2. Sören Hentzschel said on November 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    @Ronald: “Why the shrill tone, Sören?” – sorry if my tone appears shrill, that was not my intention, it’s probably because of my limited English skills. But LOC is really not interesting, you can’t say that more lines need more developer time, that’s not true, it depends. More complexity means often more code, but often less code is better than more code and sometimes you need for five lines of code much more time than for 100 lines of code. It’s not possible to generalize.

    You can find Mozilla’s annual report of 2012 here:

    1. Jan said on November 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Took a quick look and didn’t see anything looking close of a “per project” cost or something like that. From that quick look, income seems to be way more detailed than expenses.

  3. Ronald said on November 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    (Unable to reply directly to Sören’s reply to me…)

    Why the shrill tone, Sören? If you want to be an ambassador for Mozilla there is a lot you have to learn about diplomacy.

    It is silly of you to ask a question and then answer it yourself, if the answer is obviously wrong.

    In this case, I care about lines of code, so even if no one else in the world did, your hypothesis is thereby falsified.

    It is not a precise metric by which to measure productivity or complexity, but for non-programmers like me it is a useful first-order approximation to gauge the size of a project.

    I am simply stunned by the fact that Mozilla’s budget outstrips other open-source budgets by orders of magnitude yet it is not clear to me that their output is commensurate with that kind of money. Your answer has shed a little light on this question but as a Mozilla insider surely you can point me to much more detailed information.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      @Ronald, parce qu’en anglais le ton est souvent plus incisif (because in English the tone is often more incisive)
      Got a dime so that I can fund Mozilla ? Got a penny for The Document Foundation?
      This was meant to be a laughing diplomatic move.

  4. Tom Hawack said on November 20, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Anyway Yahoo! as new default search engine for Firefox concerns only the U.S.A. when China and Russia will keep their own local engines and Europe will stick on Google Search as default. What is really new is Mozilla’s new policy with diversification as opposed to one and only one “partner”. In terms of image Mozilla strengthens the icon of independence. I do hope it’s not only the image.

    We were speaking of this the other day : money has to come from somewhere; together with the strive to remain independent is not an obvious formula. Everything is connected, in business included, in business more than ever. If there is never any total freedom maybe the secret is to find the right balance and that means strategy rather than day-to-day (year-to-year) tactics. See far. Perhaps is this Mozilla’s new philosophy.

  5. Sleeping said on November 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I agree with this choice. This way they will depend less on a single entity and on its choices :)

    Because of other Mozilla’s choices I switched to pale moon, but this is good news anyway :)

  6. Pd said on November 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Possibly not a bad thing as it at least partially blurs the dependency on a direct competitor but yeah it’s all G vs MS as I’ve found with DDG which uses the generally inferior MS just like Yahoo.

    It would be nice to dream that this might change Mozilla’s direction towards copying Chrome but I doubt it as that is based on perceptions of market preferences.

    Would also be nice if Mozilla decided to spend more money on the going-nowhere desktop/portable Firefox instead of trying to crack the Android/Apple duopoly on mobile via the non-English “third world” perceived market.

    No point signing big deals if the single most important channel for fulfilling your manifesto: desktop/portable market share, continues to dwindle. Like everything Mozilla has done with Firefox since they caught MS sitting on their fat monopoly, e10s has been delayed too long, Australis was somewhat clumsily implemented with most traditionally loyal users seeing it more as threat … mistakes have been made and the added competition from Google has capitalised on them.

    I get frustrated when day after day all I seem to see on the planet Mozilla feed is one of the following:

    – employees announcing they’re leaving (then remaining on the feed but posting non-Mozilla content)

    – current employees posting general content with very little, if anything, to do with what’s happening (if anything) at Mozilla

    – non-browser posts more to do with education, community building or the new OS

    The burning at the stake of Brendan Eich was a filthy disgrace undertaken by an organization that supposedly values everyone except those with an ‘alternative’ opinion, which is ludicrously hypocritical for an org based in a country with the right to free speech built into it’s foundations.

    On the good side, e10s it’s very late but at least the choice to adopt it was eventually taken after a big hiccup; asm.js seems to have huge potential; partnership building is becoming an increasing strength that users will really benefit from thru h.264 and the TLS project.

    It’d be nice to include developer tools in the plus category but personally all that appears to have done, over several years, is provide second-rate tools whilst now causing the butchering of the perfectly excellent mainstay that was already there: Firebug.

    In case it’s not clear, I don’t enjoy criticizing Mozilla but I do it because I really value the organization but want to see the rare resource that it is used wisely.

    1. Trebuchette said on November 22, 2014 at 3:22 am

      It’s too upsetting to speak of, but logged in to AMEN! your post. Stupid, stupid Mozilla.

      And I agree about the whole Eich business, too; that was just a damned shame. I guess they’re all more worried about their dicks’ rights than what they’re supposed to be working on. Assholes, the lot of ’em.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 20, 2014 at 8:36 am

      As a desktop user, I have to agree that it seems that Mozilla is putting lots of effort into areas that are of no interest to me. It appears as if the desktop is neglected and that additional resources spend for improvements could help Mozilla improve market share.

      I have high hopes for Servo even though I fear that it takes just too long to be ready to be a game changer.

  7. Ronald said on November 20, 2014 at 7:13 am

    It’s been reported that Mozilla has worldwide revenue of $320 milion of which $280 mn came from Google.

    Where is all that money going? It surely cannot cost more than ten million dollars a year to produce and update Firefox. FFS, it’s a web browser, nothing more!

    1. Dan said on November 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      I asked that question on various forums before. It seems that it does indeed cost that much to run an open-source browser. I think Mozilla Corp. has paid programmers, marketers (Asa), managers, etc. in their employ so the money is for the upkeep. If Google didn’t continue sponsoring Mozilla when the original contract was set to expire a few years ago, the “non-profit” company would have folded.

      So either they’re paying their employees WAY to generously to support an open-source product, or they are finding other ways to creatively spend such money to burn through it every year.

      Imagine if your favorite open-source product had Mozilla’s war chest. (The Truecrypt developers may not have called it quits!)

      1. Srap said on November 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

        There is also the cost of many servers for distributing, code storage and automated testing, the licenses of softwares they use (I think they use Visual Studio among many others), marketing costs (not the marketers’ payments), the upkeep of moz buildings. And possibly many more.
        Lil bit of extra:

      2. Sören Hentzschel said on November 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        “So either they’re paying their employees WAY to generously to support an open-source product, or they are finding other ways to creatively spend such money to burn through it every year. ”

        Again, Mozilla is more than Firefox, much more…

    2. Sören Hentzschel said on November 20, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Only ten million? oO The annual report of 2012 is public available. Mozilla had $208 million expenses in 2012. The annual report of 2013 should be published soon.

      By the way, Mozilla is more than Firefox.

      1. Tom Hawack said on November 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        @Ronald, “The annual budget of The Document Foundation, which publishes LO, is peanuts.”
        All depends what you call peanuts, that is when do peanuts lose their name to be called money.

        I’m not sure The Document Foundation‘s budget is that far from Mozilla‘s, anyway in terms of proportion with the aims.
        And working on Firefox together with Thunderbird, making them available on several platforms is certainly a hell more of a work than re-looking every 6 weeks or so LibreOffice.

        I mean, let us compare what is comparable.

      2. Sören Hentzschel said on November 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm

        Who cares about lines of code? Answer: Nobody. And Ronald, do you know Thunderbird? Firefox OS? Opus? Daala? Rust? Servo? Shumway? Emscripten? ORBX? Persona? Webmaker? OpenNews? Hive? Bugzilla? MDN? Web Platform Docs? Just a few Mozilla projects, there are a LOT more. And you need money for the infrastructure (servers), marketing, events, investments (Mozilla invested in for example), research, … There is no guarantee that Mozilla will earn enough money with search engine deals in the next 20 years. And no growth without money.

      3. Ronald said on November 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        The open-source office software LibreOffice has 7,271,857 lines of code. A new release comes out approximately every six weeks. The annual budget of The Document Foundation, which publishes LO, is peanuts. Even after the separately budgeted paid developers’ work on LO is factored in, I doubt they are much above $1 million.

        So again, I ask, where is all that Google largess (soon to be replaced by Yahoo largess) going? How many milion lines of code is Firefox? How many the other software projects of the Mozilla foundation? Is Mozilla one huge sinecure for otherwise unemployable college graduates?

  8. Nebulus said on November 19, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Lately, I’m more content with seeing Microsoft gaining influence rather than Google, so I welcome the change. Of course, most of the time I don’t use the default search engine in Firefox, but that is beside the point.

  9. Robert Palmar said on November 19, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This a really a deal with Microsoft since Yahoo has been “powered by Bing” since
    2009 and Yahoo’s contract to keep most add revenue for five years ends now.

  10. Dwight Stegall said on November 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I bet Yahoo had to fork over a huge sum of cash for that. But even with one hand tied behind your back you can change it back in 30 seconds. I’d love to see how many keep Yahoo. :)

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

      And companies don’t pay for peanuts. This may be relevant of the number of users who don’t/never change default settings, browser’s default search engine included, even if as you say “you can change it back in 30 seconds.”

      I don’t know the data, I mean that data which is pertinent about the behavior of an average browser user and about a majority of users. Maybe is this majority that of newbies, maybe are they a wide majority? I have no idea but, again, I guess that if companies are so excited about a browser’s default settings it is not for no substantial reason.

      Concerning Yahoo! within Firefox, they have and have had for as far as i remember a foot in the browser should it be only with the Web Feed reader option “Use my Yahoo!“. The company is also active with Firefox forks such as Pale Moon. Yahoo! outsider?

      1. Jan said on November 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

        “The company is also active with Firefox forks such as Pale Moon.”
        Uh ?

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.