As you may know, Yahoo recently entered a five-year partnership with Mozilla to see Yahoo Search become the default search experience in Firefox. This is a big deal in search because the browser has had Google in this spot for the past decade. It gives Yahoo a chance to gain some searches it wasn't otherwise getting.
The first version of Firefox - 34 - to utilize Yahoo as the default launched this week, and it appears to already be helping Yahoo significantly.
StatCounter says on December 2nd in the US, Yahoo search was used three times more on Firefox 34 than on Firefox 33.
The firm found that Yahoo usage on Firefox 34 was 29.4% compared to 9.6% for Firefox 33. Google search usage by Firefox users dropped from 82.1% to 63.5% as they upgraded to the new version, it found, and Bing declined from 6.5% on Firefox 33 to 5.8% on Firefox 34.
While this is obviously a limited data set, this brings up a pretty interesting point in that Mozilla's move to Yahoo could actually hurt Bing. In the past, users who simply didn't want to use Google may have switched their search preference to Bing, whereas now, perhaps they're more likely to just leave it at Yahoo.
We'll look forward to seeing an update on these numbers as users have had more time to update their browsers and their search preferences.
“Firefox 34 is still being rolled out so its usage is currently quite low. It will be interesting to see how this develops,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. "At the moment the change is having a negligible impact on overall search share in the US, but if this early usage trend on Firefox 34 continues then Yahoo could be on course to gain a number of percentage points.”
According to StatCounter, on December 2nd, overall search share across all browsers in the US was 78% for Google, 12.4% for Bing and 7.9% for Yahoo.
In the meantime, it seems Yahoo and Bing are vying to replace Google as the default experience for Apple's Safari browser, which should have a significant impact on market share for either. It remains to be seen whether or not Apple moves away from Google here, but if past moves by the company are any indication, it's a very real possibility.
Yahoo's most recent earnings report illustrated that its search business has begun to perform better than its display ad business. It's deals to become the search provider for third-party services that give engines like Yahoo and Bing the best chance to gain some market share against Google.
Image via StatCounter