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Firefox Experiment is testing Bing as the default search engine

Mozilla is running an experiment on 1% of the Firefox desktop population currently, which sets the default search engine to Bing in the web browser.

Firefox ships with different search engines by default, and one of these is set as the default search engine. The default search engine is used when users type into the browser's address bar or use the search field on the browser's new tab page.

There are regionally difference when it comes to the default, but in most regions, it is Google Search. Mozilla and Google extended the search deal in 2020 for another three years. Google is paying Mozilla "between $400 and $450 million per year" so that its search engine is the default in Firefox in most regions. Google has been Firefox's default search engine since 2017, when Mozilla ended its search deal with Yahoo early.

Firefox users may change the default search engine to one of the other engines that are included by default, or an engine that is not included but can be added. Microsoft's Bing search engine is included by default and users can switch to it in Firefox with just a few clicks.

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The September 15, 2021 SUMO post lists the search experiment in Firefox:

From Sept 6, 2021 1% of the Desktop user base will be experimenting with Bing as the default search engine. The study will last into early 2022, likely wrapping up by the end of January.

The study started on September 6 and it will run until early 2022, likely January 2022. About 1% of Firefox desktop users may notice that the default search engine is changed when the installation of Firefox is picked for the experiment.

Is the search engine changed regardless of whether the user has changed it to another search engine? Or is it changed only, if the user has not changed the default search engine? One would hope that the latter is the case.

firefox studies

Tip: load about:studies in the Firefox address bar to list the studies that the browser us currently taking part in and has completed already. Firefox users who don't want to participate in studies can disable the preference "Allow Firefox to install and run studies" on about:preferences#privacy.

Mozilla does not reveal why it is running the study. One plausible explanation is provided by Sören Hentzschel, who is suggesting that Mozilla might want to have a backup plan when the search contract with Google runs out in 2023. Google may be interested in extending the search deal, but if the deal falls through, Microsoft would be one of the few remaining options for Mozilla. Most revenue is coming from search engine deals.

How many Firefox users would revert the change to Google or switch to another browser entirely if Bing would become the default?

Now You: what is your preferred search engine right now?

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Firefox Experiment is testing Bing as the default search engine
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Firefox Experiment is testing Bing as the default search engine
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Mozilla is running an experiment on 1% of the Firefox desktop population currently, which sets the default search engine to Bing in the web browser.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2021 at 1:58 pm
    Reply

    My preferred search engine is Duckduckgo.

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2021 at 10:09 pm
      Reply

      I doubt DDG would pay $450 million per annum. They need one of the data thieves to stump up.

    2. Iain said on September 17, 2021 at 11:46 pm
      Reply

      DuckDuckGo’s dirty secret is that they get most of their results from Bing.

      1. Trey said on September 18, 2021 at 5:07 am
        Reply

        @Iain

        Such results are proxied through DDG. Bing tracking isn’t carried through. Just like the aggregate that is Searx – it also uses Bing, Google, etc.

      2. Christian said on September 18, 2021 at 6:14 am
        Reply

        @Iain, so what if they just leech Bing and don’t transfer M$ tracking? It’s Bing results so they are awful unless you are searching for english content. Google’s power is that it is ages ahead on searching for regional content. We are not all Americans out there. Searx is a better option than DDG for us because they leech Google too, at least some results from it.

      3. Anonymous said on October 16, 2021 at 11:12 pm
        Reply

        @Christian well, just so you know, DuckDuckGo also has their own indexer, but they censor just the same as Google and Microsoft does, I would say that’s why Searx is bette option than DDG. I actually remember DDG hiding revolver news website, but Searx still showed it as first result, of course when DDG was caught they said it was just a mistake but who believes DDG? just look the story of CEO Gabriel Weinberg and how he never cared about privacy or anything but somehow he does now? nobody should believe DDG after Names DB was created by the same person. It still a little better than plain Bing or Google in some searches but not great.
        Anyway, all your “regional better than Bing” doesn’t matter when everyone knows Google searches are just not great anymore with all the censorship and how they tell you what you can and can’t search, that’s why Brave search sometimes is a pain in the butt, for grabbing Google results, but it is also the reason Brave search was released to stop “big tech” from telling you what you can search (that’s what Brendan tweeted once), of course unless you search for movies and brainwashing stuff like that or just you want to get information Google wants you to get, Google is good but it is not amazingly good like people like you want to make it seem, maybe to find restaurants and all that regionally can be better, but since I don’t care about going to restaurants and places then I can’t care much about how good regionally Google is in that regard.
        But anyway, you can keep believing whatever you want and getting tracked by Google, it’s your choice because somehow regionally Google is better in your opinion even if probably it won’t matter in the end since you are not in some small town in the Caribbean looking for a restaurant right now.

  2. m3city said on September 17, 2021 at 2:15 pm
    Reply

    How about a plan like this:
    – wait until google sends money for the next period
    – spend as much as possible on aggresive campaign about privacy, how evil google is and how important it is that they will not secure the monopoly, remind ppl that internet was not supposed to be for-money driven and how google et consortes destroy it.
    – sack everyone outside core FF developement
    – sack guys who filter out community ideas, comments. these people are bad
    – make FF awesome again, including mobile (or even focused on mobile?)
    – contribute, support, promote: linux, plasmamobile, ubuntu touch, kaios, harmony os, ungoogled huawei, /e/.
    – pray it works out :)

    Search engine? Im in EU, so qwant, metager, own instance of searx.

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2021 at 5:28 pm
      Reply

      With what end goal? Have a better marketshare? So what?
      The marketshare doesn’t pay the bills. This is how the world works sir, with money.
      Who told you that the internet was not supposed to be for-money driven???
      Since it become available to consumers it became for-money driven.

      1. m3city said on September 17, 2021 at 11:23 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous
        With a better internet? Yeah, with better marketshare, due to being a better product. And if you look back to the begging of internet, how it was envisioned, how ppl imagined it might become then you will learn it was not for money. There was web 2.0 in the 2000s i guess, where users were supposed to become not only observers and readers of content, but commentators as well. It happened, didn’t it? Then there should be web 3.0 where users were to become creators – create content, and it also happened. Web 2.0 became plagued by trolls, haters but it still sprawned good vibes. Web 3.0, although there is massive user input, is also plagued by idiocy. And along the way capitalism, advertisers, greedyness took over it. Noble, intelligent ideas/pages become less and less relevant due to the fact that shitcontent is shoveled by every possible way, while pickpocketing our privacy using the other hand.

        Sorry for rant. It’s friday for gods sake:)

      2. :-) said on September 18, 2021 at 4:57 am
        Reply

        Even if Firefox was arguably the best browser by far, in every singly aspect, it would never have more marketshare than Google’s or Microsoft’s browsers. It just won’t happen because Mozilla does not have a mainstream ecosystem that people actually would buy into.

        Mozilla won’t ever be mainstream, all they can do is keep developing Firefox to still be a valid option for those who don’t want to be part of the product of big tech companies.

      3. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 5:07 am
        Reply

        > Mozilla won’t ever be mainstream, all they can do is keep developing Firefox to still be a valid option for those who don’t want to be part of the product of big tech companies.

        Mozilla is funded by Google. If using Firefox is your way of showing Google the finger, then I don’t know what to say anymore. :D

        Furthermore, Mozilla has never been able to sustain their business outside of being a search engine leech. In this respect, I am happy that the browser I am using (Brave) is standing on its own feet and doesn’t have to beg a single search engine sugar daddy for money all the time.

      4. Emil Brausewetter said on September 18, 2021 at 10:26 am
        Reply

        Quote:
        ” I am happy that the browser I am using (Brave) is standing on its own feet and doesn’t have to beg a single search engine sugar daddy for money all the time.”

        Brave’s sugar daddies:
        “Don of the PayPal Mafia” Peter Andreas Thiel and his Founders Fund
        in best company with
        Propel Venture Partners,
        Pantera Capital,
        Foundation Capital,
        Digital Currency Group,

        All of them are best known as the Heros to Protect YOUR Privacy.

      5. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 11:46 am
        Reply

        @Emil Brausewetter

        Funny that you always fail to get the point. Brave has multiple partners who pay to be included in the privacy-respecting ads Brave displays. Brave’s existence doesn’t hinge on a single contract like e.g. Mozilla hinges on the Mozilla-Google deal. If one or two of its advertising partners decide to end the partnership, so be it, Brave Software won’t go under because of that.

        You mention some of the initial investors of Brave here, but this really doesn’t have anything to do with how they generate their RECURRING income!? That’s not the very same thing despite you think that it is, you see.

        And last but not least, Peter Thiel is invested in a (very) broad spectrum of companies, look it up. Some of these companies are related to privacy (both positively and negatively), some are not. He invests where he assumes a profit will turn up, he is very much equal opportunity in this regard. Again, go look it up, I won’t spoon-feed you like a three year old here.

        Brave is the most privacy-respecting browser out of the box and the code is 100% auditable on GitHub:

        https://www.ghacks.net/2020/02/25/study-finds-brave-to-be-the-most-private-browser/

        https://github.com/brave/brave-browser

        IF something nefarious were going on, I can rest assured that Deplatformingfox crusaders like you would dig it up in no time. Since your audit apparently isn’t yielding any results negative for Brave, you attempt to muddy the waters instead (ironically the same thing you accuse me of below, deflection much?) by mentioning an equal opportunity investor who is not even Brave’s only investor. This is not very convincing, you see.

      6. Anonymous said on September 18, 2021 at 6:19 am
        Reply

        m3city, the marketshare doesn’t pay the bills. The marketshare has to be transfered to subscriptions or ads to make money. And like you said today the web has BILLIONS of users, we are not in 2000s (even then companies like AOL made money from it) and the costs are massive today if you have billions of users.

    2. nocorpo said on October 7, 2021 at 12:45 am
      Reply

      > – sack everyone outside core FF developement

      Their head techy is (at least until last i checked) EKR, aka Extended Random guy… the one that collaborated with margaret salter and the nsa to backdoor cryptography years back. Also responsible for mandating the webrtc leak in firefox since forever and shutting the bugtracker on it down. Interestingly also founder of lets encrypt overseeing the certs and all that. He and others are unsackable.

      Their head of ‘trust and security’ is/was an ex cia guy, promoted and the role filled by a google drone.

      Theres a smattering of other government and google bots high up on the payroll too.

      Its a lost cause, the corp is rotten, shady to the core.

      The persistent intentional privacy loophols, backdoors and gaslighting the privacy community always stirring division may be obvious to us, but they are sustained by an ocean of naives, fooled by their information warfare depmt. Dont try to fix them, eliminate them by supporting alternatives and decentralized anti-corp tech.

    3. Buck said on October 16, 2021 at 11:45 pm
      Reply

      LOL yeah because Firefox believes in privacy, only clueless people believe that crap about Firefox and Mozilla = privacy. I mean, we can admit Mozilla is a little more open in some stuff than Chromium for customization and improve privacy, but it is not Mozilla doing that, also, all their “extra” stuff doesn’t change how they support and promote censorship, more openly than Microsoft and Google evil companies, so are you going to support that which is just a big issue than privacy?

      You are dreaming and wishing so much anyway, the only reason Mozilla exists is because of Google anyway, not because anyone or anything else, if it wasn’t for Google, then Mozilla would have died long time ago because no marketshare and no money, and no money and no marketshare. But Google is smart, they are giving tons of money to Mozilla so they would stay alive and don’t be put as a monopoly and then get fined and probably split by those government and non-democratically elected organizations like EU (that shouldn’t get in the middle).
      It is not because Mozilla is such a great browser Google is giving them money or because of their almost no marketshare it is just the monopoly issue.

      But all your ideas and dreams don’t happen, and won’t change anything even if somehow mozilla decided to do something right. Nobody cares about mozilla and people aren’t switching to Mozilla or forks because Chormium forks are more and better and can aim some regions like Opera and Yandex do, just see how many Chromium forks are available in mobile and desktops like an ecosystem to make life easier for some for the sync and stuff like that vs firefox forks, we have yandex, opera, edge, chrome, brave, vivaldi… all of them have desktop and mobile apps vs…. firefox only?

      It is not going to happen, not a serious person would invest in Firefox, not even Mozilla themselves, they just pretend to do it while cashing Google’s check, because it is the only real money they will ever get.

      You might love Firefox so much that you type all your dreams and wishes but they will not come true and I am 100% those points are not in Mozilla’s employees head because they don’t care to make a better product and even if they did, people already know Firefox is just not the browser to choose when they, again, support censorship and they won’t go back to weird development land of Firefox. Not even uBlock promoting Firefox as the better solution will save Firefox.

  3. Honorius said on September 17, 2021 at 2:28 pm
    Reply

    >Mozilla is running an experiment on 1% of the Firefox desktop population currently, which sets the default search engine to Bing in the web browser.

    They take over user settings as if they were at home (on their own computer).

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2021 at 10:15 pm
      Reply

      No they don’t. They set a default and are paid handsomely for it. If users don’t like the default search engine, they can change it. Personally, job #1 for any browser is to change the search engine.

    2. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 5:27 am
      Reply

      @Honorius

      They’ve inserted spyware via the same mechanism (Firefox Experiments) at one point, so switching the search engine as they see fit isn’t really inconceivable, is it?

      https://www.zdnet.com/article/firefox-tests-cliqz-engine-which-slurps-user-browsing-data/

      I sometimes chuckle when FF adherents on this very website here tell me how oh so customizable Firefox is (side note: It is doubtful that those customizations are even beneficial privacy-wise, you might very well just heavily fingerprint yourself while “customizing” your settings.) while the browser is at the same time blatantly backdoored, with Mozilla being able to remote-apply code as they see fit. Of course, the same people are also bashing browsers like Ungoogled Chromium or Brave which are not backdoored in this manner.

      1. Emil Brausewetter said on September 18, 2021 at 10:45 am
        Reply

        Quote:
        “zdnet.com/article/firefox-tests-cliqz-engine-which-slurps-user-browsing-data/”

        A friendly reminder:

        Mozilla invested in Cliqz back in 2016, but a year later Cliqz (the company behind it) acquired the popular privacy-focused extension, Ghostery. Four years later, in 2020, Cliqz was shut down. The browser’s built-in search engine was the first to display search suggestions and top search results as the search query was being typed in the address bar. The important part here is that the search engine delivered results, while protecting the privacy of the user.

        Source: https://www.ghacks.net/2021/03/04/brave-acquires-tailcat-search-engine-will-offer-search-results-without-profiling-users/
        … further information:
        https://www.ghacks.net/2021/06/22/brave-search-beta-is-now-available-publicly/

      2. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm
        Reply

        @Emil Brausewetter

        The quote you’ve posted doesn’t have anything to do with Mozilla’s breach of user privacy. It is literally just the history of the Cliqz company, whatever that is supposed to tell us here.

        Friendly reminder that Cliqz develops both privacy-friendly and privacy-hostile products. Some of their privacy-friendly products also have privacy-hostile aspects. Ghostery, for example, does block tracking scripts which is objectively a net positive for user privacy, but it also at the same time sold aggregate user data to advertisers to help them improve their tracking in the future.

        Brave bought Tailcat which is a search engine initially developed by Cliqz. This in itself does not mean that Brave Search is privacy-hostile because a) Cliqz themselves develops both pro- and anti-privacy products and b) Cliqz hasn’t been at the helm of the search engine development ever since the purchase – rather, Brave Software was. So if you want to insinuate here that Brave Search is privacy-hostile, you would first have to prove this. Their privacy policy is good:

        https://search.brave.com/help/privacy-policy

        The reason why Brave bought Tailcat is that they had an own search index ready to go, this saved Brave Software months that would otherwise have been spent developing it themselves, which makes no sense since Cliqz was ready to sell. Brave also didn’t buy Cliqz the company but rather only overtook the development of one of their products which they sold.

        Speaks volumes about your character that you try to throw dirt at Brave for a supposed association with Cliqz after I have uncovered a privacy-hostile action of Mozilla (performed via Cliqz). You don’t deny Mozilla’s action, you just try to “avenge” them, so to speak, by throwing shade at Brave Software. However, sadly for you, just like your “Peter Thiel water muddying” attempt above, you try to insinuate a strong connection where there is none. Sad failure of an argument.

      3. CliqzBot said on September 18, 2021 at 12:54 pm
        Reply

        It has now been zero days since Iron Heart mentioned Cliqz

        Here is “solso” who worked for Cliqz and now works for Brave

        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26331756
        > There was no tracking on Cliqz, nor it will be any in Brave. To know more about the underlying tech of Cliqz there are interesting posts at https://0x65.dev, some of them covering how signals are collected, data, but no tracking. I did work at Cliqz and now I work at Brave. I can tell for a fact, that all data was, is and will be, record-unlinkable. That means that no-one, not me, not the government, not the ad department can reconstruct a session with your activity. Again, there is no tracking, full anonymity, Brave would not do it any other way.

        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26333446
        > Mozilla never did such a thing. The browsing history was never sent in any shape or form. As the journalistic article you quote states, Mozilla put in place the HumanWeb[1,2,3], which was a privacy preserving data collection which ensured record-unlinkability, hence no session or history. Anonymity was guaranteed and the framework was extensively tested by privacy researchers from both Cliqz and Mozilla. Disclaimer: I worked at Cliqz.
        >
        > [1] https://0x65.dev/blog/2019-12-02/is-data-collection-evil.html [2] https://0x65.dev/blog/2019-12-03/human-web-collecting-data-in-a-socially-responsible-manner.html [3] https://0x65.dev/blog/2019-12-04/human-web-proxy-network-hpn.html

  4. ULBoom said on September 17, 2021 at 2:34 pm
    Reply

    The less MS garbage in windows, the better.

    At least google doesn’t totally disrespect changes you make to android, gmail, whatever. MS does, they do what they want. I read something about why bing was better than google search and tried it. It sucks, lots of images, images and more images with search results buried in videos and images. Like their so called News; a shotgun blast of crap. Rich curated experience blah, blah, blah; lousy results buried in ads, ads and more ads. No way to mod bing that I found without saving cookies; that aint gonna happen.

    In the last few months, MS has become even more persistent at ignoring users, overriding settings, wrecking windows (someday, maybe, printing will be fixed?), flubbing win 11 and lots more.

    DDG’s our primary search with google search secondary. Qwant doesn’t work well in our location, Startpage, I don’t trust. Searx is a disorganized mess, argh!

    1. No Thanks, CIA said on September 17, 2021 at 11:24 pm
      Reply

      Oh tell us again which corporate crook is nicest to you. I want as little to do with Google, Microsoft, Apple and every other big tech monopolist thugs as possible. **** all of them.

  5. ChromeFan said on September 17, 2021 at 3:07 pm
    Reply

    Chrome obviously.

    Everyone complaining does not realise that your very own DuckDuckGo uses Bing (lol).

    It is very fitting that a search engine that censors information is being used with a browser that censors (lol).

    This is not the first time Mozilla has strayed away from Google. Remember when they used Yahoo (lol). Then without finishing its contract with them, decided to move back to Google. You can not trust Mozilla. They will stab you in the back.

    Google should cancel its agreement with Mozilla and let them suffer. It’s very funny to watch.

    1. Tiga said on September 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm
      Reply

      Sure, use Chrome and Google, if result quality and privacy mean nothing to you.

      > It is very fitting that a search engine that censors information is being used with a browser that censors (lol).

      Ironic to speak of censorship when touting the search engine that not only has a rich history of censorship and cooperation with dictatorships but also gave us the plague called the filter bubble.

      1. Tiga said on September 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm
        Reply

        My links didnt go thru – search Wikipedia for:

        Censorship by Google
        Filter bubble

      2. ChromeFan said on September 17, 2021 at 4:51 pm
        Reply

        @Tiga Didn’t know about the filter bubble. Thanks for that.

        They only censor obscure information. Conspiracies, fake news etc. 95% of the time its more than enough. DDG does not even come close. Their search engine is utter dross.

    2. tHedUDe said on September 17, 2021 at 7:47 pm
      Reply

      Mostly Bing and sometimes DDG gets results from Yandex as well

      https://seirdy.one/2021/03/10/search-engines-with-own-indexes.html

      as for me i’m using a couple Whoogle-search instances

      https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search

      1. ChromeFan said on September 19, 2021 at 2:52 am
        Reply

        Interesting read, thanks. That Whoogle-search looks really good as well.

  6. Dave said on September 17, 2021 at 3:18 pm
    Reply

    I switched to Bing years ago when Google started blocking VPN’s.

  7. Microfix said on September 17, 2021 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    I’d suggest a quick read over on https://restoreprivacy.com/private-search-engine/
    Thereagain, it’s only a mozilla experiment, wonder if the opted-in users are aware of this?
    Mostly outwith GDPR jurisdiction? that’s ok then :)

  8. Paul(us) said on September 17, 2021 at 3:42 pm
    Reply

    Duckduckgo (aka DDG) for more than 10 years.

    When Firefox (My favorite for almost two decades) would made it not more possible to change to main preferred search engine, I will dump Firefox in less than one hot second.

  9. pndy said on September 17, 2021 at 5:11 pm
    Reply

    Doesn’t seem this comes totally out of nowhere. Feels like some tactical play: they pick Bing as a default search engine expecting that in return Microsoft will ease the way how the default web browser is being set on Windows 11.

    Also, please, less Android news.

  10. Herman Cost said on September 17, 2021 at 6:20 pm
    Reply

    I have been trying Brave’s new search engine as my default. It seems fine to me almost all of the time and I assume (or hope, anyway) that it will continue to improve as their user base grows. I use Firefox as my primary browser (with experiments turned off, of course, and with every other possible about:config and extension privacy tweak). I don’t care what they do with Bing as long as they don’t force it on me. Like Paul(us) above, if they did, I am gone that day.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 5:36 am
      Reply

      @Herman Cost

      > (with experiments turned off, of course, and with every other possible about:config and extension privacy tweak).

      Respectfully:

      https://madaidans-insecurities.github.io/browser-tracking.html#configuring-the-browser

      This website and its readers should start differentiating between changes to the browser that are detectable by websites and those that are not. For example, turning off Firefox Experiments or telemetry is a good idea because a) why on earth should you allow either of these and b) the change is bot detectable by websites. If changes are detectable by websites then you might very well just fingerprint yourself by randomly changing settings, effectively reducing privacy while believing you’ve enhanced it. Firefox’s default settings are in a sad state and could definitely use some improvement… but doing it yourself, deviating from the defaults in ways where third parties can see that you are in a tiny minority who have implemented the changes themselves (while even the setups within this minority vary), is a road to hell in terms of privacy.

      1. Emil Brausewetter said on September 18, 2021 at 11:16 am
        Reply

        From the Endless Series “Iron Heart loves to muddy the waters so he can appear to know more than the other guy.”
        Quote:
        “If changes are detectable by websites then you might very well just fingerprint yourself by randomly changing settings, effectively reducing privacy while believing you’ve enhanced it. Firefox’s default settings are in a sad state and could definitely use some improvement… but doing it yourself, deviating from the defaults in ways where third parties can see that … rhabarber rhabarbarum.

        His alarmist claim stems from Google’s blocking cookies is bad for privacy. That was the disingenuous argument from Google, trying to justify why Chrome is so far behind Safari and Firefox in offering privacy protections
        Google Quote:
        “Large scale blocking of cookies undermine people’s privacy by encouraging opaque techniques such as fingerprinting.
        With fingerprinting, developers have found ways to use tiny bits of information that vary between users, such as what device they have or what fonts they have installed to generate a unique identifier which can then be used to match a user across websites. ”

        But the reality is:
        Just because a clever circumvention is technically possible does not mean it will be widely deployed. Based on peer-reviewed research, fingerprinting continues to represent a small proportion of overall web tracking. And there’s no evidence of an increase in the use of fingerprinting e.g. in response to other browsers deploying cookie blocking.
        Apple and Mozilla have already taken steps to mitigate fingerprinting, and they are continuing to develop anti-fingerprinting protections.

        While Google recently published an anti-fingerprinting proposal called Gnatcatcher, which allows groups of users to send their traffic through a privatizing server with the intent of hiding a device’s IP address so that it can’t be used for targeting, but is still available for what is called “legitimate purposes”. What ever this might be …

        Even if a large-scale shift to fingerprinting is inevitable (which it isn’t), cookie blocking still provides meaningful protection against third parties that stick with conventional tracking cookies.

      2. Herman Cost said on September 18, 2021 at 3:38 pm
        Reply

        @Ironheart, yeah I do understand that what I do leaves me much more open to fingerprinting. But I also take some precautions against that. for example: 1) My internet activities never involve using any site that collects massive amounts of data (e.g., no Google, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc.) to do that kind of large scale account correlation that is needed for effective fingerprinting; 2) I use a VPN in the rare cases when I want to view something on those kind of sites; 3) I know you dislike Firefox, but as Emil points out below, Firefox has actually implemented various anti-fingerprinting protocols (e.g., against canvas fingerprinting and letterboxing), and I have those turned on, 4) I take various other precautions to separate my internet activities from my public identity. 5) I delete all cookies upon exiting the browser except certain trusted sites.

        In short, I do the best I can. I don’t use Brave because it lacks the flexibility I want in a browser (e.g., this is just one of a number of things that bothered me in my failed experiment with Brave: I want a text-based menu bar; unlike Firefox – and Vivaldi, Pale Moon, and even Chrome – Brave has decided for me that I should not have one). However, as mentioned I use their search service.

  11. Ayy said on September 17, 2021 at 9:22 pm
    Reply

    I don’t know who at mozilla is responsible for these insane decisions but they should be ashamed of themselves, in the past when mozilla tried forcing users to use bing, microsoft was publishing ads as the first result that if clicked would lead directly to malware (think searches for ‘ printer driver’ or something similar). this kind of nonsense is why I only recommend brave to my family/friends as they don’t need to worry nearly as much about what a greed focused company is going to do next to abuse the trust of users.

  12. Courageous said on September 17, 2021 at 10:42 pm
    Reply

    Hey, at least Firefox isn’t homophobic, which is the most important thing in a browser.

    1. ChromeFan said on September 18, 2021 at 12:43 pm
      Reply

      How can a browser be homophobic? I never Firefox was a person.

  13. JohnIL said on September 17, 2021 at 11:10 pm
    Reply

    Ok if Mozilla and Firefox are all in on privacy. Why are they even using Google, Yahoo, or Bing???
    I mean, if your so concerned about privacy shouldn’t you choose a privacy focused search engine?
    Must be that their deal with Yahoo is coming to an end so looking for the next contract deal to get some big revenue. Obviously a DuckDuckGo isn’t going to provide any sort of revenue to Mozilla.
    Most will use the search engine that works best and if they can’t figure out how to change the default. They probably will just skip Firefox all together.

  14. 19 said on September 18, 2021 at 1:01 am
    Reply

    googles mission to destroy FF is almost complete, next stage defund them, mozilla mad, switch to bing, lol.

    1. ChromeFan said on September 18, 2021 at 12:46 pm
      Reply

      Mozilla screwed Mozilla. I love how you Firefox fanboys always blame Google for Mozilla’s failures.

  15. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 2:58 am
    Reply

    Now You: what is your preferred search engine right now?

    In my case, I have set “Brave Search” as the prescribed search engine.
    By the way, in my use case, I use not only the “address bar” that works with the prescribed search engine, but also the “search bar” that works with any other search engine.
    about:preferences#search
    Search Bar

    • Use the address bar for search and navigation
    • Add search bar in toolbar

    An integrated search bar and address bar provides a better user experience by making room for other items that can be placed in the toolbar (such as extension icons), and by allowing the address bar to be expanded to display a larger amount of URL information. On the other hand, the separation of the search bar from the address bar allows the use of a different search provider than the prescribed search engine in the address bar, which also improves privacy.

    In that “search bar”, I have added the following search engines.

    Concerns:
    If you use the “Use address bar for search and navigation” option, all actions you take while typing will be redirected to the “default search engine”. As a result of this redirection, your “browsing history and activity” will be collected by the search engine providers (Google, Bing = Microsoft, etc.) (the secondary revenue from search services is the source of Google and Microsoft’s revenue and market dominance).

    Because I value “privacy concerns” and “market integrity,” I avoid using GAFMA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon), the platformers with monopolistic control over the market, whenever possible.
    As part of this, I prefer to use the “search bar” to switch to the “search engine” of my choice. I then set (added) “Brave” as my default search engine

    History of the “Search” bar
    The major web browsers for Windows that can display a “search” bar next to the address bar are limited to “Firefox and its derivatives” and “Vivaldi”.
    Other browsers (such as Google and Microsoft) do not display or support the search bar (such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge), as it would compromise their “interests”, so making it visible is not possible. It is possible to redirect to any search engine with keyword search, but it is quite tedious and inconvenient.

    1. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 3:02 am
      Reply

      [FAQ] Firefox’s “Address Bar” and “Search Bar

      Add the Search bar to your Firefox toolbar | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/add-search-bar-firefox-toolbar
      You can use the Search bar on the New Tab page, or you can search the Web from the address bar. You can also change your search settings in Firefox to add a separate Search bar next to the address bar.

      How to search the contents of the current page for text or links | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/search-contents-current-page-text-or-links
      When you are viewing a website in Firefox, you can search for words and phrases on the page. Firefox will show you where the search phrase you’ve typed appears next on the page, and lets you highlight all the places where it appears.

      What to do when searches take you to the wrong search website | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/searches-take-you-to-wrong-search-website
      This article describes what to do when searches from Firefox don’t go to the expected site(s). For example, Google searches may redirect to a page with a lot of advertising or using a different search engine.

      Change your default search settings in Firefox | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/change-your-default-search-settings-firefox
      The Search panel in Firefox Settings lets you customize your search options. You can add or remove search engines, change your default search engine, assign or change keyword shortcuts, turn the search bar on or off, and choose whether to display search suggestions first or not at all.

      Add or remove a search engine in Firefox | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/add-or-remove-search-engine-firefox
      Firefox comes with a number of available search engines by default. Many websites offer search engines that you can add to Firefox. This allows you to search with that website’s search engine, directly from your Firefox address bar or Search bar. This article explains how to add or remove the search engines that Firefox uses.

      Search suggestions in Firefox | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/search-suggestions-firefox
      As you type into the address bar or search bar, Firefox suggests relevant search terms or solution buttons related to the task or answer you may be looking for. When search suggestions are enabled, the text you type in the search bar is sent to your default search engine. This search engine analyzes the words and displays a list of popular results based on the search term.

      Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-browsing-search-download-history-firefox
      As you browse the Web, Firefox remembers lots of information for you – sites you’ve visited, files you’ve downloaded and more. All of this information is called your history. However, if you are using a public computer or share a computer with someone, you may not want others to see these kinds of things.

      Clear recent searches from the Search bar | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/clear-recent-searches-search-bar
      Firefox includes a Search bar on the New Tab page and an optional Search bar located to the right of the address bar. When you search the Web with Firefox, the Search history can grow quite large over time. This article explains how to clear items from your Firefox Search history.

      Private Browsing – Use Firefox without saving history | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/private-browsing-use-firefox-without-history
      Private Browsing does not save your browsing information, such as history and cookies, and leaves no trace after you end the session. Firefox also has Enhanced Tracking Protection, which prevents hidden trackers from collecting your data across multiple sites and slowing down your browsing.

      Address bar autocomplete in Firefox | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/address-bar-autocomplete-firefox
      The Firefox address bar displays the URL (web address) for the page that you are visiting. When you type into this field to enter a URL or search term, Firefox remembers the pages that you have visited and shows page suggestions in the address bar drop-down, such as sites you’ve bookmarked, tagged, visited before, or have open in tabs. This article explains how the address bar autocomplete feature works.

      Firefox doesn’t save web form entries | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-doesnt-save-web-form-entries
      Firefox can remember what you’ve entered in forms on web pages, also known as text fields. After you’ve entered something into a form on a web page (such as a search box), the next time you visit that page, your previous entry should be available to re-use. If you find that you can’t re-use your form entries, follow the instructions in this article.

      Firefox can’t load websites, but other browsers can | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-cant-load-websites-other-browsers-can
      This article describes problems where Firefox cannot load websites but other Web browsers (such as Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge) can. When this happens, Firefox may show a Server not found or Unable to connect error message.

      Keyboard shortcuts – Perform common Firefox tasks quickly | Firefox Help
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/keyboard-shortcuts-perform-firefox-tasks-quickly
      This article lists keyboard shortcuts in Mozilla Firefox.

      1. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 3:06 am
        Reply

        For an example of clearing the search history in the “search bar,”

        Example 1,
        Restart the browser.

        Example 2,
        Press the hotkey: Ctrl+Shift+Delete.
        https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/clear-recent-searches-search-bar
        The Clear All History dialog box will open (duration of history to be cleared drop-down menu).

        Example 3,
        https://i.imgur.com/Y2W7C1I.png
        Right-click in the “Search Bar” and click “Clear Search History” from the contextual menu.
        To clear individual items from the Search bar history, click on the Search input field. Press the ? and ? keys to scroll the list of items. To delete the highlighted item, pressShift+Delete.

        Example 4,
        Use the browser extension “Clear Browsing Data”
        https://github.com/dessant/clear-browsing-data
        Description
        Clear Browsing Data is a browser extension which enables you to delete browsing data, such as cookies, history and cache, directly from the browser toolbar. The toolbar button can be configured to clear all browsing data with a single click, and the extension also supports closing and reloading tabs.
        Supported data types:

        • Cookies
        • Browsing history
        • Cached images and files
        • Cache storage data
        • Autofill form data
        • Download history
        • Service Workers
        • IndexedDB data
        • Local storage data
        • Website file systems
        • Plugin data
        • Web SQL data
        • Saved passwords
        • Application Cache

        Clearable data types and their order can be customized from the extension’s options.
        Relevant Firefox bugs:

        • Data saved with the Cache API is not cleared (1526246)
        • The HTTP authentication cache is not cleared (1535606)
        • Clearing downloads only removes them from the current session, downloads from previous sessions can be removed by clearing the history (1380445)
        • The cache and local storage are cleared entirely regardless of the requested time interval
        • Clearing the history also removes downloads and service workers
      2. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 3:09 am
        Reply

        Mozilla has introduced the With Firefox 60 (and Firefox ESR 60), Mozilla has introduced the so-called “Enterprise Policy Engine”.
        The Enterprise Policy Engine allows It allows administrators to control Firefox via a configuration file. The advantage of this configuration file over a Group Policy Object (GPO) is that this method works cross-platform, not only on Windows, but also on Apple (macOS) and Linux.

        Enterprise policies can make it impossible to change “configuration values”.
        For example, you can disable changing the search engine, disable telemetry, block automatic updates, etc.

        It requires the extension “Enterprise Policy Generator”.
        https://addons.mozilla.org/ja/firefox/addon/enterprise-policy-generator/

        See also: A Guide to Configuring and Enhancing Privacy, Security, and Anti-Fingerprinting in Firefox (Case Study)

        • As a tool to check information about browsing privacy and web browser fingerprinting

        BrowserLeaks – Web Browser Fingerprinting – Browsing Privacy
        https://browserleaks.com/
        It has long been believed that IP addresses and Cookies are the only reliable digital fingerprints used to track people online. But after a while, things got out of hand when modern web technologies allowed interested organizations to use new ways to identify and track users without their knowledge and with no way to avoid it.
        BrowserLeaks is all about browsing privacy and web browser fingerprinting. Here you will find a gallery of web technologies security testing tools that will show you what kind of personal identity data can be leaked, and how to protect yourself from this.

        • A tool that allows you to create a Firefox “profile” with your preferred default settings.

        Firefox Profilemaker
        https://ffprofile.com/
        This tool will help you to create a Firefox profile with the defaults you like.
        You select which features you want to enable and disable, and in the end you get a download link for a zip-file with your profile template. You can for example disable some functions, which send data to Mozilla and Google, or disable several annoying Firefox functions like Mozilla Hello or the Pocket integration.
        Each Setting has a short explanation and for the non-obvious settings links to resources describing the feature and the possible problems with it.

        The Firefox Privacy Guide for Dummies! – 12Bytes.org
        https://12bytes.org/articles/tech/firefox/the-firefox-privacy-guide-for-dummies/
        You’re aware that unethical companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, advertisers, your ISP, and even governments are spying on your activities and buying and selling the data they harvest, even if you may not be aware of how they’re doing it. You’re concerned about this invasion of your privacy, but what can you do abut it?

    2. owl said on September 18, 2021 at 3:27 am
      Reply

      Sentence correction:
      Before,
      As part of this, I used to prefer to use the “search bar” to switch to any “search engine” I want. And I have set (added) Brave as my default search engine.
      After,
      As part of this, I prefer to use the “search bar” to switch to the “search engine” of my choice. I then set (added) “Brave” as my default search engine.

  16. Trey said on September 18, 2021 at 4:56 am
    Reply

    Approaching half a billion dollars to make the default search engine Google? How on earth is that worth it to google and who’s pocketing most of that money?

  17. Yanta said on September 18, 2021 at 6:11 am
    Reply

    I can’t even use Google as they block my VPN. No loss.

    Use DDG, but not really happy with it.

    Are there any search engines out there that are not as slow as 3 legged dog (no offense to the poor dog), from Prison Island, that don’t censor the hell out of results?

    1. Yash said on September 18, 2021 at 9:35 am
      Reply

      How about Startpage? Haven’t used it much but read somewhere – its Google without tracking. So that may solve VPN issue.

      1. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2021 at 11:23 am
        Reply

        @Yash

        http://techrights.org/wiki/Startpage

        You have a talent for trusting the wrong people, I suppose.

      2. Yash said on September 18, 2021 at 7:27 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart
        So I see you didn’t read properly again. When I wrote – ‘haven’t used it much’ – it means find some stuff about it on internet and use it at your own risk, and it also means I haven’t used it more than 2-3 times so I’m just throwing a name out there. It is recommended by PrivacyTools so make of that what you will. ‘That may solve VPN issue’ – this literally indicates that I’ve just thrown a name out there, and you or Yanta are more than welcome to check whether its good or not if you want to.

        Plus Yanta said Google can’t be used because of VPN, reading between the lines suggests privacy is not a priority here. So even with a questionable past Startpage is better than Google in privacy terms according to a certain user @Iron Heart – see this link – https://www.ghacks.net/2021/06/17/2021-looks-to-become-another-record-year-for-the-duckduckgo-search-engine/ Literally used Google to find this article.
        Maybe Iron Heart here is different than Iron Heart in another article :-)

        “You have a talent for trusting the wrong people, I suppose.”
        You already wrote three comments here in this article trashing Firefox and mentioning madainwhatever guy again, so read it again while facing the mirror :-)

    2. Shiva said on September 18, 2021 at 5:07 pm
      Reply

      https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/421597-bypass-google-sorry-recaptcha
      And set\add the search engine of your choice to redirect from Google when using a VPN.

  18. Shazbot said on September 18, 2021 at 8:28 am
    Reply

    I prefer to use TorBrowser, based upon Firefox ESR.

    The default search engine there for me is DDG .onion.

    If you use Tor, here is DDG .onion:

    #1: If you’re stupid enough to have javascript enabled (which this URL requires):

    https://duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion

    #2: If you’re bright enough to disable javascript manually (see below) and set the security settings to “Safest” then you should go to:

    https://duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion/html

    Just a little difference between the two but it means so much! You should not have javascript enabled!

    After setting your browser’s safety level to Safest, go to about:config and toggle javascript.enabled to false. It’s the way it should be. Good luck and have fun!

  19. Bernhard Bauer said on September 18, 2021 at 6:09 pm
    Reply
  20. Anonymous said on September 19, 2021 at 12:57 pm
    Reply

    People easily ignore bing being default in vivaldi or its home page commerical speed dials or bing being default in edge.

    They just change it to google and remove annoyances and then say oh, how much this is great.

    Then they moan when Firefox do same although it needs more money than them (because it also develop browser engine and not only a frontend for chromium unlike all of them)

    and also must become independent of it rival (aka google)!

    It is funny :)

    1. Herman Cost said on September 19, 2021 at 3:04 pm
      Reply

      I personally don’t care what changes Firefox (or Vivaldi) makes as long as I can undo them. But major differences between Firefox and Vivaldi include: 1) Firefox keeps removing customization and flexibility items whereas Vivaldi keeps adding them; 2) Firefox continually shows contempt for its user base whereas Vivaldi respects its users and actively solicits and acts on feedback; and 3) Mozilla actively advocates for internet censorship and woke politics whereas Vivaldi focuses on improving their browser

      Those are just some of the reasons why Vivaldi gets (and deserves) the benefit of the doubt and Firefox is becoming increasingly unpopular

      1. Ray said on September 19, 2021 at 3:15 pm
        Reply

        I agree with you. I was using Vivaldi as well until some time back. For some reason, I kept getting errors in loading gmail. It looked like Google was actively bugging Vivaldi out. :/

  21. Ray said on September 19, 2021 at 3:13 pm
    Reply

    I am happy for Firefox to determine better ways to fund itself. However the real problem lies in the leadership within Firefox. The current leaders have got to go. They have been spending money on projects which have not helped promote Firefox as a browser in face of the competition. We need new ideas and focus within Firefox as an organisation and less money spent on marketing gimmicks (check the annual report from last year)

  22. MikeG said on September 19, 2021 at 5:13 pm
    Reply

    Huge Microsoft Edge fan here (at least on desktop). Samsung Internet is still my favorite on mobile devices. But I always keep Firefox on all my devices for occasional use. As for search engines, after using Google for years, I’ve been using Bing as my default for the last 8 years or so. It has definitely achieved parity with Google here in the U.S.

  23. can't sleep clowns will eat me said on September 20, 2021 at 3:32 am
    Reply

    People should know by now:

    DON’T DO BUSINESS WITH MICROSOFT.

    What happened to the “partnership” with Novell? Where is Novell today?

    Just one example

  24. spaceball one said on September 20, 2021 at 3:36 am
    Reply

    @ Bernhard Bauer

    ask at “tor-talk” https://lists.torproject.org mailing list

    AND/OR:

    https://old.reddit.com/r/tor

  25. critical said on September 20, 2021 at 10:53 pm
    Reply

    never used google or bind as default search engine, that makes me a -1% user base, none cares about this bracket, critical thinking is unwanted.

  26. Joe said on September 24, 2021 at 2:01 pm
    Reply

    martin brave or firefox which one is better for privacy what is your recommendation

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 24, 2021 at 3:53 pm
      Reply

      If you take the time and configure Firefox properly, use Firefox. I don’t think Brave is a bad choice either, though.

      1. Anonymous said on September 29, 2021 at 11:56 pm
        Reply

        Great standard surveillance industry answer: Firefox is not bad because you may have a few years to spend on how to make it a little less evil, and with Brave we won’t even advise you to make this effort because the former Firefox boss doing them is as good as them at sodomizing you and your data.

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