Mozilla released a major new version of the organization's Firefox web browser on November 14, 2017. The new version of Firefox promises better performance and stability, came with a theme refresh, and dropped the legacy add-on system on top of all that.
Changes were made to the browser's default search provider as well. Firefox ships with search engines preset, and options for users of the browser to switch to another search provider.
The organization changes its search strategy back in 2014 when it started to broker regional deals with search providers instead of relying on a deal with a single provider (Google). A consequence of the change in strategy was that Yahoo Search became the default search provider in the United States, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia and some other countries.
Mozilla announced yesterday that Google Search is once again the default search provider for Firefox in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Mozilla agreed to make Yahoo Search the default search provider in Firefox for the United States for five years in 2014, a period that is not over yet. TechCrunch managed to get a statement from Mozilla in which Denelle Dixon, the organization's Chief Business and Legal Officer had this to say:
We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo! based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users.
The contract was favorable to Mozilla, judging from what has been reported in the past. Mozilla did have a clause in the contract for instance that Yahoo had to pay Mozilla even if another company bought Mozilla and if Mozilla did not want to work with that other company.
Another clause allowed Mozilla to move away from the deal, and it appears that this is what the organization has done.
Google is now the default search provider for most regions in Firefox. The only regions left with other default search providers are China, Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Neither Mozilla nor Google disclosed how much money Google agreed to pay to Mozilla to become the default search provider again.
Firefox users can change the default search provider in the following way:
- Load about:preferences#search in the browser's address bar.
- Locate the "default search engine menu", and select one of the providers from the listing. If your preferred search engine is not on that list, go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search/?type=search to install it from there.