Mozilla's decision to switch the default Firefox search engine makes sense
Mozilla announced yesterday that it ended its 10 year long partnership with Google which made Google Search the default search engine in the Firefox web browser.
Instead of signing up a global agreement with Google or another partner, the organization decided to work with regional partners instead.
While Mozilla has not revealed much about the reasoning behind the decision, other than it gives the organization flexibility, it is pretty certain that other factors have played a role in the decision making process as well.
The facts: Mozilla agreed to make Yahoo Search the default search engine of Firefox in the United States, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia. The deal with Yahoo lasts for five years with options to expand it to other markets in that time. According to Mozilla, it is earning more revenue from those deals than before. Actual figures won't be released for a while though. It is unclear if the default search engine in other regions will be switched as well or if Google remains the default search engine for the time being.
Brokering deals with companies for select regions may take additional resources but it is beneficial for several reasons:
- It is likely that Mozilla will make more money from the deal. While Yandex or Baidu would pay top Dollar to be the default search engine in their home country, they may have no interest in becoming a global partner. In fact, the only company that makes sense as a global partner is Google.
- Users may also benefit from this, especially if a local search engine provides better results or a better experience than a global one.
One could say that some users may not benefit from this. This is the case if the selected default search engine does not match the quality than another search engine.
The strategy makes sense on another level as well. Google is a direct competitor in the browser market and allowing the company to be the default search engine in Firefox gives it valuable information about the browser's user base (think location for example). While it is unclear if Google used the information in any way, Chrome surpassed Firefox in many markets already and it does not seem to slow down.
Google technologies are still being used in Firefox though. There is Safe Browsing for example which checks websites and file downloads for malicious contents.
Apart from that, it is also diversifying Mozilla's income stream. Up until now it depended on payments from Google, its global search partner, to a large degree.The dependency would not have changed if Mozilla would have renewed the contract with Google or selected another global partner.
With this new system, it earns revenue from a number of partners in different markets in the world which makes it less dependent on a single partner.
Partners like Yahoo may also be open to change when it comes to search. Yahoo will honor Do Not Track when Firefox search is used for example, something which the company does not do normally.Advertisement