Firefox made headlines in November when they announced a partnership with Yahoo that would replace Google as the browsers default search engine. The move was one that was a surprising move, but not necessarily a shocking move – as some tech companies – especially those like Mozilla who are non-profits have started steering their business away from the far-reaching hands of Google.
More recently, Apple has been in talks with both Microsoft and Yahoo to replace Google as their primary search engine – or default search engine in their mobile and desktop devices as well. Although right now, it appears as though Microsoft is leading the way in that particular race there is an underlying truth to be told here.
No one is leaving their browser of choice due to ‘default search engine’ settings. In fact, most would overlook something like that – and the biggest positive that could come from the partnership would be the addition of a rogue user who doesn’t have an outright favorite search engine – who would eventually convert to full-time Yahoo searchers.
That said, Firefox has been looking for a future identity. Granted, Mozilla is a non-profit, so they don’t always act like the rest of the companies out there in the browser space. However, Apple’s move to replace Google as the primary search engine begs the question, “ Now that Apple has matched Firefox with their Safari browser – what’s next?” The bigger picture could suggest that Firefox was reacting to the larger-scale needs of their users. Perhaps they did not feel that Google was the best fit for them, based on search results – since search engines like Bing by Microsoft – have done increasingly well over the last several years.
That would mean what the tech world is seeing is less of a personal, or proactive choice made by Mozilla with their Firefox browser – and more of a reactive decision made out of necessity, or the changing of the search landscape. Which again, brings the conversation back to the things that Firefox is doing to make itself stand out – and to once again take away from other browser options – and regain some of what it had in the mid-to-late 00’s.
There has even been some debate as to whether Apple is simply going to inevitably enter the search engine market themselves to entertain the possibility of driving traffic where they want it to be driven, as well as profiting from advertising – something Google has been under-fire for recently.
The recent Firefox update that includes the ‘New Yahoo Experience’ has only been said to be coming out “soon,” lacking any real dates, or times. However, bringing a new user experience with a more streamlined search process that could compete with Safari’s new found speed, and Chrome’s continued ability to get the job done quickly online – isn’t going to be the compete answer. In fact, Firefox is said to be coming out in this update with the ability for users to execute something called “one-click search” which would allow users to search across Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Twitter or Wikipedia to start – and then give users the ability to expand from there.
Regardless though, the future of Firefox has to be focused on speed, bringing an innovative interface, and also bringing more streamlined search options – which Mozilla seems poised to do.