Yahoo Up, Google Down After Firefox Switch

Chris CrumSearch

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Well, it looks like that deal Yahoo struck with Mozilla is making a pretty significant difference in the U.S. search market. Obviously Google is still dominating by a very wide margin, but since the deal went into effect, Yahoo has reached its highest share of that market since 2009, while Google is down.

Do you think this will turn into a more meaningful change in the search market? Will Yahoo continue to gain some of its share back or do you expect this to just be a small blip? Share your thoughts in the comments.

This information comes from StatCounter, which says Google is at its lowest U.S. share since its been recording the data. The data is based on over 15 billion page views per month to over three million websites.

Late last year, Mozilla's long-time partnership with Google came to an end in the U.S. and in a handful of other countries. While Google has been the default search experience for a decade, obviously lending a great amount of queries to the search giant, that honor now goes to Yahoo in the U.S., Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China. Google remains the default experience in other countries, but some of these could eventually change too.

“This is the most significant long-term partnership for Yahoo in five years,” a spokesperson for Yahoo told WebProNews in November, adding that the company would also be introducing an enhanced search experience for Firefox users, before launching it to others.

“In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence, and positions us to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web,” said Mozilla CEO Chris Beard. “In the end, each of the partnership options available to us had strong, improved economic terms reflecting the significant value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem."

Not only did Firefox switch default search engines in some countries, it added more options as well. In all, Firefox now has 61 different search providers pre-installed across 88 different language versions.

Shortly after the latest version of Firefox (34) became available, StatCounter shared data suggesting a quick 3x jump in Firefox searches with Yahoo.

Apparently things have been going pretty well with the partnership since then. Last month, Yahoo achieved its highest U.S. search share in over five years. Here's how the share looked between November and December.

It could actually be Bing, who is at risk of losing its ranking in terms of market share.

"The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on US search," said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. "The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google."

According to the company, Firefox users represented just over 12% of US internet usage in December. Yahoo is doing its part to bump that number up. Since the integration went into effect, Yahoo has been telling users on its homepage to upgrade to the new Firefox, regardless of what browser they're using. Even Chrome users, for example, see the message.

It's never been clearer how smart of a move it was on Google's part to build Chrome and make it arguably the best browser the web has to offer. It's also clear that it remains in the best interest of Google's business at large that Chrome remains the market leader. Purely from a search standpoint, it means it can keep a default Google experience for more users without worrying about expiring partnerships and changes of heart from partners.

Apple is another long-time partner who has been inching further and further away from Google. Apple's deal with Google, which sees Google as the default experience on Safari, expires this year, and both Yahoo and Microsoft are reportedly eager to step in as a replacement. It remains to be seen if Google will lose another major browser partnership. If Apple elects to go a different route, we can probably expect the company to make some significant improvements to Safari to help it better compete with Chrome.

In other Yahoo Search news, the Yahoo Directory, which basically put the company on the map, and was the Google of its day, is officially dead. Meanwhile, the company has added search to its Aviate Android app, enabling users to search apps, contacts, and the web from their homescreen. Yahoo acquired Aviate about a year ago.

Yahoo's most recent earnings report revealed that its search advertising business is outperforming its display business. While it's certainly making efforts to improve the display side of things, the Firefox deal should play a pretty significant role in boosting the search ad business even more.

Do you think Yahoo can make a significant impact in the search market after all these years? Let us know in the comments.

Images via StatCounter, Yahoo

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.