After a ten-year mutually beneficial partnership, Mozilla Corporation announced this past November that it was giving Google the old heave ho as the global search partner for its Firefox browser platform. The move immediately caused a shake-up in the search community, causing Google to drop an unprecedented 2.5%. While Google is holding at a steady 74.8%, its U.S. replacement for the browser – Yahoo – saw its share climb from 8.6% to 10.9% according to StatCounter.
Although Firefox’s share of the U.S. browser market is rather small (16.5% in January) compared to Google’s Chrome (39.7%) and even Microsoft’s IE (33.2%), Google has been known to fire back when pushed against a corner like when Google News shut down in Spain over the new copyright law. Currently, when Firefox users go to Google.com, they’re asked if they would like to change their default search engine to Google, or reset their homepage to the site or both.
Additionally, Google used its official Twitter account to broadcast a message urging all “Google Search-loving Firefox fans” to come back to the fold. The tweet provided a link to a new page on the Google site with illustrated steps for Firefox users to switch their default search from Yahoo to Google.
How to Switch Your Firefox Browser Default Search Engine Back to Google
The steps are actually quite simple (instructions taken directly from Google’s page here)
It’s not quite clear at this point how successful Google’s “come back” campaign will be, since research suggests that most computer users never change the default settings on their apps or operating systems. And while Google’s internal metrics would provide a much clearer picture of the situation, outsiders have no access to those magical numbers.
State of Search in January
According to the analytics firm StatCounter, so far this year Google’s share of search usage dropped another half percent to 74.8% in January, with Yahoo gaining a half percent – coincidence? Probably not. This marks the first time Google’s U.S. share of the search market has dipped below 75% since StatCounter first started keeping records in 2008.
Furthermore, according to StatCounter, the change in the U.S. search share is wholly due to Firefox users. “When we removed Firefox usage from the U.S. search data, Yahoo’s gains and Google’s losses were erased,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “This highlights the importance of the default search option and the significance of the upcoming Safari deal for the major players.”