Google and Mozilla to extend search deal according to reports

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 14, 2020
Firefox, Google

Reports suggest that Google and Mozilla will extend the search deal that makes Google Search the default search engine of the Firefox web browser in most regions by three years.

ZDnet reports that Mozilla and Google will extend the search deal for another three years. Google will pay Mozilla between $400 and $450 million per year for the privilege of becoming the Firefox web browser's default search engine in most regions.

Forbes' report followed claiming that the Google and Mozilla deal was done. The news organization did not provide information on the specifics of the deal though.

Mozilla announced a second round of layoffs this week after it announced in January 2020 that it laid off 70 employees. In August 2020, Mozilla revealed that it would lay off 250 employees, a good quarter of the organization's entire workforce to better prepare for the coming years.

firefox-google search deal mozilla

The announcement was published at a time when it was not clear if the Mozilla-Google search deal would be renewed. Most of Mozilla's revenue comes from the search deal with Google, and failure to renew it would put the company in a difficult situation considering that more than 90% of its entire revenue would vanish overnight.

While Mozilla would have some options to find another partner, e.g. Microsoft's Bing Search engine would be the first choice probably because of Microsoft's financial capabilities, it would probably result in Mozilla being paid less for the deal.

Mozilla or Google have not confirmed the deal yet.

A renewed partnership with Google would give Mozilla three more years to find new revenue sources outside of its main revenue generating product Firefox. While it is possible that a deal could be renewed again in 2023, Mozilla's reliance on a single source of revenue is something that the organization has been worried about for some time.

Mozilla launched a white labeled VPN product called Mozilla VPN recently in some regions. The commercial product uses a subscription model but it is to early to tell how successful it will be in the long run. Considering that the price is $5 at the time per month, and that part of the revenue goes straight to the actual operator of the VPN, Swedish company Mullvad, it would take lots of customers to reach even 1% of the money that Mozilla gets from Google per year for the search deal.

Google and Mozilla to extend search deal according to reports
Article Name
Google and Mozilla to extend search deal according to reports
Reports suggest that Google and Mozilla will extend the search deal that makes Google Search the default search engine of the Firefox web browser in most regions by three years. 
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  1. Derek Clements said on August 17, 2020 at 4:06 am

    @ Iron Heart:
    Thanks for the tip which is very much appreciated.

  2. popcorn said on August 16, 2020 at 7:46 pm
    1. Stan said on August 18, 2020 at 7:59 pm

      And another,

      Fire 250 people, then a few days later announce a disgustingly unreal cash injection from Google.
      Of course no announcement of the CEO, the person responsible for Firefox’s demise, taking a pay cut or leaving.

      What am I missing here?

  3. Derek Clements said on August 16, 2020 at 4:37 am

    Auto update checks in Brave browser for desktop – Can this feature be de-activated?

    1. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2020 at 8:34 am

      @Derek Clements

      Yes, there is a methid, but not within the browser itself (which is the case with most browsers these days, *whelp*):

      1. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2020 at 10:29 am


  4. asd said on August 15, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Google probably demanded that to get the money they have to lay off important parts of the browser team that could endanger Chrome – aka the Servo guys.

  5. Abba said on August 15, 2020 at 5:15 am

    Instead of Google spending another billion to bail out the failing Mozilla Corp., they could pay Pale Moon and Vivaldi $1 million every year to be their competition. They would actually use the money to develop exciting new features rather than rapid release Mozilla, which relies on addon developers for all the innovation.

  6. Mothy said on August 15, 2020 at 4:23 am

    Hope the deal goes through and they use some of it to keep ESR at least somewhat configurable. I say that from recently trying Ungoogled Chromium which initially seemed promising but only became increasingly frustrating to use primarily due to the lack of an easy native keyboard shortcut for bookmarks as well as some other issues I’ll detail below.

    I normally operate Firefox in full screen mode and with a modification to the userChrome.css file can still easily access bookmarks via the Alt+B keyboard shortcut (used to do the same when I used IE via Alt-C). But with Ungoogled Chromium I always had to drop out of full screen mode then either use the mouse or the awkward CTL+Shift+B (or Alt+F) then arrow key/tab around. There was also an issue where CTRL+Tab wouldn’t rotate through open tabs unless dropping out of full screen. Some of these I’ve experienced with Google Chrome as well that we use at work. Thankfully Firefox ESR is still an option (while IE is still the corporate default for internal applications).

    The last issue that added to my dislike for Chromium was the 32 bit version on an old Windows 7 32 bit system apparently had a memory leak and would slowly consume all the system memory (3GB) and even max out a 10GB page file before crashing the whole system. Meanwhile the 32 bit version of Firefox ESR on the same system has never had that issue. On my primary Win 8 64 bit system Ungoogled Chromium used just slightly less memory than Firefox but overall performance wasn’t noticeably better.

    So this whole Mozilla thing over the last few days got me thinking may be the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Nope, not for my use case!

  7. ULBoom said on August 15, 2020 at 2:44 am

    The deal was done, sorry for this link, the site’s everything that’s wrong with the internet…

  8. Iron Heart said on August 15, 2020 at 1:16 am

    In order to keep their de facto monopoly and defend it against antitrust investigation, Google needs a weak token opposition – which is what Mozilla is these days. Also, in order to declare something to be a web standard at the W3C, two votes are required, and since Apple is not guaranteed at all to vote for Google’s proposals all the time, Mozilla’s lack of independence sure does come in handy. From Internet Explorer slayer to Google sock puppet, how the mighty have fallen.

    For what it’s worth, Mozilla is constantly clamping down on user control and user rights, recently they removed about:config from FF for Android but included a Google Analytics tracker at the same time, because who needs privacy, right? Firefox’s lackluster default settings (which is the state most people use the browser in) don’t make Google’s tracking hard at all, but rather facilitate it. Mozilla is also guaranteed to join Google in whatever anti-free speech campaign is the order of the day. People should really re-evaluate their view of Mozilla, most erroneously mistake them for anti-Google fighters, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, they are complicit in Google’s anti-user plans, they are part of the problem, not of the solution.

    Mozilla and Firefox are in dire straits due to incompetent yet greedy management doing Google’s bidding, instead of listening to user demands. With the current Moz leadership, Firefox is doomed to fail. Hypothetically, in case the current management were forced to resign, or if a Document-Foundation-alike fork of the codebase comes to pass, this is how I would fix Firefox (I know that this is not going to happen, I am just in the mood for it today):

    – Further clamp down on the staff numbers – fire everyone who is not directly involved in Firefox, especially Gecko development or maintenance of AMO. Keep only a few marketing and legal staff, reduce the management board to the core functions. Management should take a pay cut to demonstrate good will. Fire Mitchell Baker in any case and replace her with an engineer who also has management experience.
    – Usher out a statement declaring political neutrality for the project, cease any kind of political activism. Make this a code of conduct regarding public relations.
    – If the Foundation is not willing to do this, split Mozilla Corporation from the Foundation and rebrand the company.
    – Remove telemetry and Firefox Experiments, and extension recommendations completely from the codebase and let fans know about it on the blog, monitoring progress.
    – Remove Pocket from the codebase and turn this into an add-on, asking those who are alredy subscribed whether or not they want to install the add-on.
    – Restore about:config and full extension support to Firefox on Android.
    – Implement a voting system where users can propose and vote for feature requests (Vivaldi-style), promise to take this into account (and actually doing so) when developing new features.
    – Greatly expand on internal customization options Classic Theme Restorer-style in the “Customize…” screen, extend WebExtensions APIs to allow heavy interface customization again.
    – Expand on tab management, implement tab stacking and tree style tabs at the very least.
    – Switch from a forced rapid release schedule back to a “It’s done when it’s done.” flexible schedule.
    – Usher an apology to Pale Moon and encourage forks going forward, put special emphasis on the openness of your platform.
    – Lay greater emphasis on developer tools and security going forward, because this will win back the hearts of web devs and security researchers alike.
    – Distance yourself financially from Google, even if it means switching to Bing as default search engine. Team up with DuckDuckGo in certain regions, if that’s financially viable.
    – Create a private E-Mail service where even the Mozilla employees have no access to the E-Mails, combine this with a “Thunderbird Premium” subscription, i.e. create paid functionality in Thunderbird that is closely tied to this E-Mail service, keep Thunderbird free of charge for everyone else.
    – Improve public relations with your users, don’t ignore them, don’t mark them as off-topic when they are not, be kind to them instead. Tell your developers not to treat users like imbeciles, or else…
    – Publicly team up with the gHacks-user.js and make this known, make this the default configuration with a few exceptions where it hinders general browsing convenience.
    – Cooperate closer with Tor, introduce a Tor mode in Firefox that is a profile within the profile (similar to what Brave does).
    – Team up with Raymond Hill, the EFF, and the Decentraleyes & ClearURLs developers, combine the functionality of these add-ons into the most powerful tracking protection ever made, sell this as a monthly subscription and make it clear that you absolutely do not shy away from hurting the ad giants.
    – Blog regularly and comprehensively about privacy improvements and privacy violations, make your fight against that your main topic.
    – Appeal to the Linux community, as well as Canonical & Red Hat for support, make it clear to them that financial and technical support is required to keep Firefox going.
    – Push your own VPN (not just a rebranded Mullvad) with extremely strict privacy policy.
    – Make Firefox compatible with Chromium extensions out of the box, in order to profit from the Chrome Web Store, Chrome Store Foxified used to do this, refine that.
    – Drop all unnecessary Android browsers, end Firefox for iOS completely. Likewise do away with VR and similar stuff that is unrelated to browsing. Reinstate Servo and Rust development instead.
    – Remove childishness from Firefox, no emojis, no silly logo changes. Adopt a professional style.

    There, fixed it for you. But I tell you what: None of this alternative reality stuff is going to happen, in real life, Mitchell “Ma” Baker and her gang will reap in their rewards in exchange for literally nothing, while slowly moving to either get rid of Firefox completely or rebase it on Chromium some day. Since none of the above is going to happen at Mozilla, I can’t say that I am sad about their demise, nobody needs Google’s lapdog imitating real opposition, if anything, this just hampers the dawn / growth of any real opposition.. IMHO, the only way to save this, provided the management insists to stay in control, is an extremely widespread developer- and fan walkout, similar to what happened with OpenOffice after Oracle took over.

    But knowing that is not going to happen, either, I am just watching the self-destruction of Mozilla progressing even further while chugging along quite nicely with the Brave Browser.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on August 16, 2020 at 12:38 am


      1. Iron Heart said on August 16, 2020 at 11:25 am


        For sure. Guaranteed WONTFIX.

    2. ULBoom said on August 15, 2020 at 2:57 am

      Google’s been FF’s main investor since 2006 or thereabouts, in about the same proportion as today. There was the short dance with Yahoo, the original covid, from which Mozilla smartly ran away.

      Yeah, the browser could definitely be made better and FF’s “leadership” has been childish but one way or another, unless Google’s broken up, and should be IMO, they can continue to buy off other companies’ market share by investing in them.

  9. NozillaForMe said on August 15, 2020 at 1:02 am

    Can the productive People that lost their jobs come up with a Forked-FF and save us all from Mozilla’s ineptitude. I really think that Linux Mint could look for some other default browser choice but really it’s probably time for some FF fork before it becomes too late.

    This UI madness with FF is just the most useless waste of time and those folks should have been the ones to go!

  10. Pedro said on August 14, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Hopefully Mozilla manages to find alternative revenue sources. They’re in a bind, because they depend on this deal with Google, and there’s no search engine as dominant as Google. So they can’t find alternatives.

    Maybe if they provided privacy minded services besides the VPN? Maybe a cloud office software based on LibreOffice to go along with Thunderbird? A photo-backup service that offers the same capabilities as Google Photos?

    It’s hard to come up with alternative revenue sources to be honest.

  11. foolishgrunt said on August 14, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Somebody pointed out that allowing Firefox to fail would be invite all sorts of antitrust scrutiny for Google. Consider this search deal a self-interested donation.

  12. Yuliya said on August 14, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    assuming mozilla will still be around in 2023

    1. ULBoom said on August 15, 2020 at 2:39 am

      2020 + 3 = 2023

  13. Matthew said on August 14, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    What are they doing with all this money? They now have about 680 employees, so where is this $450million per year going? I can only assume they’re donating most of it to “social justice” causes, since it’s certainty not being spent on Firefox.

    Mozilla is failing in every respect. Their browser gets worse with each new version, they’ve laid off most of the engineers but kept the UX designers and HR drones, they burn through vast amounts of money to achieve pretty much nothing, they’ve destroyed all trust in their brand, and now they’re going to start shoving more commercial products down our throat like Pocket because they apparently believe $450million a year isn’t enough.

    Mozilla used to be a great organisation that saved us from the IE monopoly, but it has become so inept and user-hostile that it has instead brought about a Chrome monopoly. It think it’s time Mozilla shuts down and hands Firefox to a competent organisation.

    1. ULBoom said on August 15, 2020 at 2:33 am

      What are they doing with the money?
      Go to: and start reading.
      Or here:

      Does it make any sense that MS would just bail on browsers, letting Mozilla take their market unless MS didn’t care? MS and Google were gargantuan compared to Mozilla (actually Firefox, Mozilla’s a non-profit) even then. Browsers were not one of MS’s strategies; still aren’t. Google saw Chrome and their search engine as their future in ad revenue and distributed the hell out of it. Mozilla has had little to nothing to do with today’s browser space.

      1. Iron Heart said on August 15, 2020 at 7:08 am


        > Mozilla (actually Firefox, Mozilla’s a non-profit) even then.

        False, Firefox is developed by the Mozilla Corporation, which is for-profit, and which owns several other for-profit companies like Pocket. It is in turn owned by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. This scheme exists because it allows Mozilla to misleadingly beg for donations (they should make it clear on the main page that donations go to various virtue signaling projects instead of Firefox, but they only do so in some random FAQ) and call upon the support of volunteers, despite the Mozilla Foundation only serving as a thin veil covering a clearly for-profit business.

    2. asd said on August 14, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      Most of the money goes to the top executives to splurging out, because they sure aren’t spending it on fixing bugs in Firefox that have been documented for years…

    3. Stan said on August 14, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      John McAfee may be looking for a job….I’d trust him over her.

  14. Promising Future said on August 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    My USA bank only allows three browsers: Chrome, Edge and Firefox.
    Without Firefox there is zero choice. If the 50 state Attorney Generals anti-trust challenge is successful, this new $400 million insurance would evaporate. Time is of the essence…

    Many USA federal, state and city websites will not run if Go0gle is blocked.

    Safe and Secure Roadmap
    The future looks very bright indeed as Firefox innovates into another Chrome clone but with a new twist.
    Maybe with the $400 million a year, Firefox can duplicate the seemingly innocent, binary browser blobs (contained within a proprietary software safe).
    The keys are held by partner analytics packages which run on 75% of USA websites (i.e. this site requires Javascript. Please Enable!).
    Contractually its data-controller website owner will take all legal responsibility and risks for privacy type data-flows.
    Are there plans for Mozilla to go public? /s

  15. asd said on August 14, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Google keeps Firefox around so that Google is not accused of violating antitrust laws (which the do).

    1. Anonymous said on August 18, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Chromium is open source *** [Editor: removed word, please stay polite] . There can’t be a monopoly claim against an open source project.

    2. ULBoom said on August 15, 2020 at 1:59 am


      Forest for the trees, forest for the trees.

    3. Benjamin said on August 14, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      That is my take on this as well. Similar to the one were Microsoft saved Apple from ruin many years ago… still, since they are all corporations which are under US control, it is all a part of US foreign policy and imperialism.

      All my searches from within Android’s Firefox have to go through the Google… it is a good identifyer as to what kind of person is behind the Android device.

  16. skynet said on August 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    They are very lucky to get that much money from the deal, that’s more than they got last time when they had 3x the users. Shows that google thinks keeping an alternative engine around is worth it to them. Bigger pay rises and bonuses for the top few won’t be far behind. Who says failure doesn’t pay?

    1. No Thanks, MSNBCIAGooglesoft said on August 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      “Shows that google thinks keeping an alternative engine around is worth it to them.”

      Oh it’s worth it to them. It gives them a legal loophole from being a 100% monopoly and US government gatekeeper of the WWW and most of the internet. Google should have been broken up already.

      1. Anonymous said on August 18, 2020 at 11:25 am

        You have no idea what you are talking about. There can’t be a monopoly in open source. Provide at least one monopoly legal claim ever filled against an open source project. Chromium is open source.

    2. gopher said on August 14, 2020 at 6:17 pm


      Except I don’t think your numbers are correct at all. Do you have legit, conformed sources for your claims?

      Also, keep in mind that this new deal is still somewhat of a rumor.

    3. Anonymous said on August 14, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Look at and, they never had 3x the amount of users.

      They have 210 Million Monthly Users on Desktop currently, and the max amount in 2017 (when the old google contract was started) was around 277 million:

      In 2011 they had 400 million:

      Still it’s puzzling that google pays the same amount of money as 3 years ago when mozilla had at least 50% more monthly users.

      And that is with reduced ad revenue. So technically the new search deal probably doubles the revenue per user.

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