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Google courts Firefox users with dump-Yahoo appeal

Image: Mozilla

16 March 2015

Google has upped the ante in its appeal to US-based Firefox users to restore its search engine as the default, embedding a prominent plea above search results.

The entreaty appears after executing a search from in Firefox when the browser has Yahoo as its default provider.

“Switch your default search engine to Google,” the alert stated. When users click the offered “Learn how” button, they see instructions for changing the provider.

The latest please-come-back bid followed lower-key efforts earlier this year by Google. In January, Google asked Firefox users if they wanted to reset their home page or change their default search engine to Google. Those appeals appeared in small banners atop the page, not within the search results.

Since Mozilla – Firefox’s maker – struck a deal last year that made Yahoo the default search engine for most US users, Google’s share has slipped by several percentage points. Google had long been Firefox’s default.

According to Irish analytics vendor StatCounter, Yahoo gained US search share during each of the first two months after Mozilla changed the default on 1 December 2014.

But Yahoo’s growth at Google’s expense may have peaked. Two weeks ago, StatCounter noted that Yahoo’s overall US share had dropped to 10.7% from 10.9% in January, while Google’s share had climbed one-tenth of a percentage point to 74.9%.

StatCounter also tracked a downturn in Yahoo searches from within Firefox. In February, US Yahoo-on-Firefox usage was 27.3%, down from 28.3% the month prior. Meanwhile, Google-on-Firefox usage was 65.1%, up from 63.9% in January.

Before the Mozilla-Yahoo deal, US Yahoo-on-Firefox usage was just 9.9%, while Google-on-Firefox usage stood at 81.9%.


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