Two weeks ago Mozilla announced that it would be jettisoning Google as the default search option in Firefox, opting instead to go for Yahoo, the search engine that most right-thinking people stopped using, and caring about, years ago (at least Mozilla didn’t select Ask.com).
Firefox 34 launched at the start of the month, with Yahoo as the default choice for US users, and instantly the newly selected search engine saw a massive increase in usage.
According to independent website analytics company StatCounter, Yahoo usage on Firefox 34 in the US on the 2nd December was 29.4 per cent. In the previous version, the Google-friendly Firefox 33, it was 9.6 per cent. In other words, Yahoo use grew by 19.8 percentage points as a result of becoming the default Firefox search engine.
That 9.6 per cent of users changed from Google to Yahoo in Firefox 33 (and presumably earlier versions) is something to raise eyebrows at, but we’ll move on.
Google’s search engine was the big loser with use in Firefox dropping from 82.1 per cent to 63.5 per cent. A fall of 18.9 percentage points, which is - as you might expect - very similar to Yahoo’s gains.
Bing also declined slightly from 6.5 per cent on Firefox 33 to 5.8 per cent on Firefox 34.
Overall search share across all browsers in the US has yet to be affected by the switch with Google still the clear leader on 78 per cent, followed by Bing on 12.4 per cent and Yahoo on 7.9 per cent.
"Firefox 34 is still being rolled out so its usage is currently quite low. It will be interesting to see how this develops", commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "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".