Quietly, Firefox tests historical change and surprises users

Anyone who uses Firefox is already used to having Google as the default search engine when performing searches. But that could change soon, after all Mozilla is conducting an experiment with a small group of users who will default to Microsoft Bing. For now, only 1% of desktop users have the “new” search engine and this is expected to continue through January.

Even with this forced change, the user can still reset his preference to the default in the settings. It’s extra work, but it can help Mozilla measure the acceptance or rejection of your change.

For some users, Bing will be the default Firefox engine (Image: Screenshot/Canaltech)

Google is still the darling of people not only because of the size of the company or its fame, but because, in the majority view, it has the most accurate search results. The company is also constantly reformulating to deliver new solutions, such as natural language comprehension, integration with Lens and information hubs – the cases of Covid-19 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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A possible widespread shift to Bing is something that surprises the market, as Google accounts for more than three-quarters of Mozilla’s annual revenue from the integration with the search engine. The main speculation in this regard is that Microsoft may be willing to shell out more money than its rival to conquer the space in Firefox.

New sources of revenue

Mozilla is interested in creating other ways to generate revenue, such as subscription products and VPN, to try to remain less dependent on third parties. Abandoning your long-time partner, however, seems like a risky thing to do unless there is a more consistent proposal on the other side.

But the shift may also have to do with preserving user privacy: with FLoC, Google has aroused the distrust of many browser developers, particularly Mozilla. The organization was one of the first to announce that it does not agree with the proposed new model, because it would be flawed and would open spaces for collecting much more data than the current ones.

The search engine market has remained stable in the last 12 months (Image: Reproduction/StatCounter)

Data from the company Statcounter reveal that Google is the most used search engine, with 92.03% of the market. In second place, Bing has only 2.48% of total searches, a number that has remained stable in recent years. Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex and DuckDuckGo complete the TOP 5, with a combined audience of the four rivals of 7.21%.

In response to the TechRadar portal’s request for comments, the organization limited itself to saying that it conducts regular studies and that, at the moment, the experiment changes the default search engine. Of course, it can’t be said that Mozilla will actually abandon its successful partnership to close a deal with Microsoft. As the tests run until January, there is still a lot of water to pass under the bridge and the reception may be worse (or better) than expected.

Source: TechRadar, StatCounter

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