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Google Returns As Default Search Engine In Firefox (techcrunch.com) 136

Mozilla today launched Firefox Quantum, which the company is calling "the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004." It brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. It also sets Google as the default search engine again if you live in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. TechCrunch reports: In 2014, Mozilla struck a deal with Yahoo to make it the default search engine provider for users in the U.S., with Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and others as options. While it was a small change, it was part of a number of moves that turned users against Firefox because it didn't always feel as if Mozilla had the user's best interests in mind. Firefox Quantum (aka, Firefox 57), is the company's effort to correct its mistakes and it's good to see that Google is back in the default slot. When Mozilla announced the Yahoo deal in 2014, it said that this was a five-year deal. Those five years are obviously not up yet. We asked Mozilla for a bit more information about what happened here.

"We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo! based on a number of factors including doing what's best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users. We believe there are opportunities to work with Oath and Verizon outside of search," Mozilla Chief Business and Legal Officer Denelle Dixon said in a statement. "As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. With over 60 search providers pre-installed as defaults or secondary options across more than 90 language versions, Firefox has more choice in search providers than any other browser."

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Google Returns As Default Search Engine In Firefox

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  • It was only a couple days ago [archive.org] when Firefox was quoting Vogue Culture News for this:

    Break up with Google.

    Use a web browser you have more control over, and which has more plug-ins that you can use for privacy, such as Firefox.

    Whatever Mozilla. Keep pretending the "champion of the Internet", it's part of your act.

    • Hush. They finally fixed this (an annoyance every time I install Firefox / load up a new Linux install), and that's a good thing.

      Now if they could find themselves a leader...someone who doesn't think that Apple or Google or Microsoft are the people they should be copying / working for, then maybe FF will have a future.

      • Are you telling everyone on /. that every time you load up a new Linux install you're creating a new user account with a blank Firefox profile?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @04:05AM (#55552771)

      There is no firefox only xul

    • by Wootery ( 1087023 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @08:13AM (#55553335)

      Keep pretending the "champion of the Internet", it's part of your act.

      They are, though. The fact is that Google is the best search engine out there, and putting anything but Google as the default search engine does nothing but annoy users. Mozilla have to be pragmatic and pick their battles.

      It's like with EME. If Firefox supports it, people like you call them traitors to their ideology. If Firefox doesn't support it, people mock Firefox for being the only browser that doesn't.

      • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @09:39AM (#55553635) Homepage

        I mean, they could just ask people when they install the thing which search engine they wanted to use. Default to no search engine unless they explicitly select something. I don't even use the search bar that much. I usually just actually go to Google (or whichever search engine) if I want to actually search something.

        My biggest annoyance about them going with Yahoo a few years back was that they made the change to existing installs. I had already chosen a search engine on all my machines. Why would they change the search engine I'm using because of a software upgrade. I hope they aren't doing the same thing again. If somebody has already made the choice to go with Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, or whatever other search engine, I don't think that Firefox should go around changing it on people.

        • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )

          I mean, they could just ask people when they install the thing which search engine they wanted to use. Default to no search engine unless they explicitly select something.

          Because the people that care are in the minority, so why inconvenience everyone with an additional step?

          • I mean, they could just ask people when they install the thing which search engine they wanted to use. Default to no search engine unless they explicitly select something.

            Because the people that care are in the minority, so why inconvenience everyone with an additional step?

            I see a "First World Problem" meme being made out of that.

            "Installed FireFox...

            "Needed one more click than I could accept."

      • I don't care about EME. People like me call Mozilla a traitor to their declared ideology for sacking Brendan Eich, for refusing to listen to their users on issues such as Compatibility or the Interface, and for deeply embedding Google into their defaults.
  • by ReluctantRefactorer ( 223101 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @03:10AM (#55552639)

    Surely if Mozilla really had users' best interests in mind they'd make DuckDuckGo the default search option?

    • by The Cynical Critic ( 1294574 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @03:49AM (#55552743)
      If they had users' best interest in mind they wouldn't have made something like 90% of all the UI and feature-related changes they've made over the last decade...

      If you're not familiar with the specifics Yahoo contract*, it includes clauses for situations like the sale to Verizon where they get to keep all the payments without having to do anything for that money if they decide they don't like Yahoo's new owners for some reason. More probably than not they just decided use this part of the contract to get double income, Mayer deal money from Verizon and search money from Google.

      * https://www.recode.net/2016/7/... [recode.net]
    • by Quantum gravity ( 2576857 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @04:27AM (#55552837)
      Most people probably only know about Google, so like or not, it is the obvious default choice. DuckDuckGo is available and easily set as default if you want to. Personably I'm impressed by FF 57.
      • I'm liking FF 57 myself. Going to miss a couple of plugins that haven't updated yet, but hopefully that is just around the corner. Holy crap where is noscript?! OK, need to go look that up right quick.

        Anyway, regarding another post in this thread, I love FF at least leaves the "save page" option under the first click menu, instead of being way buried like in Chrome. Annoys me to no end when I use Chrome.

    • by short ( 66530 )
      Definitely not. DuckDuckGo does not track user's history/preferences/context and therefore it provides poor unrelated results compared to the user-customized search of Google. A personal assistant is always a premium-paid feature!
      • Isn't it better to have unbiased results?
      • How do we know they don't track history other than them saying so?

    • and put Startpage [startpage.com] as an alternative.
    • Agreed...and they would give Firefox a decent UI and not this Chrome crap where everything is hidden behind cryptic icons and the rest crammed into the almighty address bar. Thankfully we have Pale Moon....
    • But the fact is, it's a bad search engine. Google eats it for breakfast.

      Ideologically, I want to like DuckDuckGo, but it's just not there yet.

      If it ever does get there, I'll gladly switch over and hope Mozilla adopt it as Firefox's default search engine. But not before. I have stuff to get done.

      • But the fact is, it's a bad search engine. Google eats it for breakfast.

        Let me tell ya! Life was going well, Google was providing me search results that enhanced my social, spiritual and financial well being. After I switched to DuckDuckGo from Google, I lost my entire fortune, My wife left me and my dog ran away, and my Pickup Truck fell completely apart.

        But now I'm a Country Western singer, and that's a good thing.

      • by doom ( 14564 )

        But the fact is, it's a bad search engine. Google eats it for breakfast.

        Provide one single example where a google web search does better than duckduckgo.

        • Every time I try DuckDuckGo, it either gives roughly the same results Google gives, or it gives worse results.

          If you want an example, here's one off the top of my head: D programming language compile time expressions

          Google's top 7 results are right on the money (though ideally the very top result wouldn't be the Compile-time Argument Lists page). DuckDuckGo's top 7 results are nowhere near as good - ironically it seems to be matching 'regular expressions' with 'expressions' in a way that a human programmer

    • The only reasons I have Firefox installed are to Test Websites and to record Automation scripts with Selenium IDE which no-longer works I think it's about time we considered Firefox to be out of scope the only compelling reason for me to use it was Selenium IDE which is now borked :|
    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      If users want a well funded highly capable browser then they'd understand that Moz needs to get funding. Google has paid 100's of millions literally to get their search box as 1st choice. And you can easily change it, unlike the ****ing UI or the fact that your plugins are all broken now.

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      I would say most people prefer to use google because it gives them the best search results. On my Linux laptop I have left duckduckgo as the default and it's ok, but on my primary machine I always set google as the default. It's through choice, not ignorance of the options.

    • Never mind what they choose as the default. If my preference happens to coincide with their choice of default, then when they change their choice at some time in the future, my choice of search engine should remain as I set it.

      This is not currently the case. I explicitly set my search engine as Google over a decade ago. Then Mozilla decided to change their default, and my search engine changed from what I'd set it to. This is nonsense. There should be a choice for Google, along with a "use default" choice t

  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @03:14AM (#55552657)
    I was hit with an automatic update from firefox 56 32 bit which worked fine.
    Even thought updates were off I ended up with firefox 56 64 bit! A real PITA, lockups while using, heck it only started up every other time every time.
    While battling this crap, I made sure update was disabled!!! Now I have 57.0!!!!!
    What the heck are the shakers and movers at mozilla doing this is a cluster frak!
    • I went default firefox in the single digits. But I am done! Bye!
      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @04:26AM (#55552829)

        57 is disappointing. Default color scheme was horrible, but that's fixable. But it's now slower than it used to be for all the hype of being faster. And legacy extensions are disallowed with no replacement for noscript yet. Even more preference settings have vanished, and some preferences were changed on me. The new tabs page is horrid (was in 56 also) and you can't get the old style back (ie, I prefer my home page in new tabs). New icons are ridiculous looking. I normally never update this soon, waiting for a dot release instead, but I thought it would fix a problem I was having that turns out to be fault of an updated extension instead.

        So far, nothing is an improvement in any way. If they were smart, they'd add a "rollback" button.

        • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @06:14AM (#55553057)

          But it's now slower than it used to be for all the hype of being faster.

          You broke something. Nuke your profile and start again.

          Yes I am most definitely blaming the user here. If you think this is in any way slower than you have done something wrong.

          • I agree, I woke up this morning to 57 and I'm pleased. Took 10 minutes to tweak it: remove the whitespace from the left and right of the address bar, put my favorite theme back in place, add IPLookup Addin and Nimbus for screen capture. Not happy that it looks like Chrome, hell how is Mozilla supposed differentiate their product? I want the softer rounded tabs back. And the master password dialog box needs to come up first thing. Nothing like starting to type in the address bar and have the Master Pa
          • "You broke something. Nuke your profile and start again."

            I politely call this Tech Arrogance ;) You don't tell the Client, Customer or User "It is your fault, just cycle the power, adjust this, this and this, toggle this, change this each time this stuff happens ;)"

            Firefox is just a tool used for a task. Over the years it has been a good one. But when the tool becomes the task. If is no longer useful.

            I have learned may things over the years listening ;) You had your say, I had mine, time will tell ;)
            • But when the tool becomes the task. If is no longer useful.

              You have just described Linux, Windows, MacOS, as well as every other browser.

              Effectively you have said: "A car is just a car, as soon as I need to take it in for maintenance it is no longer useful". Even a simple tool like a spanner can benefit from being cleaned at some point in its life.

          • A year and a half ago, FF started freaking out on me. I would launch it with an empty about page (default), or even with a link via email, and it would open and just sit for 30 seconds. It was unresponsive, and my cpu/,memory was fine. Then it would magically become responsive and work fine. I deleted my profile, disabled add-ons (I only had 3 or 4 basic ones like adblocker, gestures, etc.). I went through several new versions, hoping it would be fixed. Nothing worked. After about 6 months, I gave u

  • "Firefox Quantum is here and the biggest story is that the evil monopolistic corporation is partnered with again, what good news for our evil overlords! Aren't you happy for them citizen? FEEL HAPPY!"
    I'd like my news as non evil corp propaganda free as possible please thank you.
  • by CustomSolvers2 ( 4118921 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @04:57AM (#55552917) Homepage
    It is kind of hurtful to recognise that it definitively is. Many of their policies are horrible, sell every bit they have about you, some of their products aren't that good lately, etc. But their search engine is certainly good. What is even worse: the competition (for a so juicy market!!) is quite weak or, at least, aren't doing all what is required to really beat Google.

    Some time ago, I wrote various posts here asking slashdotters about reliable alternatives to Google. I have been testing some of them during the last months and, so far, the best option has been startpage.com/ixquick.eu. Although I have found some problems, in general, the experience has been reasonable good. The main issue here is that the results are precisely provided by Google! A restricted (and theoretically respectful with your privacy) version of what you can find there.

    I have still to do proper tests with yandex.com (which looks quite nice, but as a Russia-based search engine might have some issues) and bing.com (whose performance in the past wasn't too good, but perhaps they are better now; on the other hand, as a Microsoft company might also have some issues). A so big and profitable market, so much available money and knowledge (no idea if in general, but if you give me enough resources and a reasonable time frame, I will certainly create something really good) and so much crap! How can this be possible? We are constantly reading articles about VCs throwing lots of money at virtually anything! This is one of the safest bets ever! And all what you need is money, doing things properly and some patience!
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      ...sell every bit they have about you...

      They don't, and that's the key. They keep all data they collect for themselves, and they sell service based on these data, revealing as little as possible.

      That's part of the reason they are so good. They can use that huge database to improve their results, and competitors can't access it, even by paying. They have a goose that lays golden eggs, and they spare no expense taking care of it, there is no way they are letting it go.

      • They don't, and that's the key. They keep all data they collect for themselves, and they sell service based on these data, revealing as little as possible.

        Call it as you want, but the underlying idea is the same: they make money from people's information. I don't like that and I think that many other people don't like it either. They might do an excellent business just by selling ads, which might be eventually improved by collecting the information which I expressly allow them to use (and only when being logged in their system). As said, I recognise the superiority of their search engine, but I don't like most of their business model. I would even prefer to h

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Moz devs work hard, I am certain, but I have disagreed with every UI change made in years.

    However, all or almost all of the changes are optional - you can, if you know what to do in about:config, revert them.

    This is a profound blessing because the other browsers on the market are the enemy. Usng software *provided by* MS or Google or Apple is catagorically unthinkable.

    As it is however I find more and more sites which do not work in Firefox.

    Actually, I have to come to the view *all* web-sites are broken

  • Upgraded this morning. Odd that my theme was changed, but that prompted me to grab a new one. Simple and now I have a better theme!

    Very impressed with the speed. Feels much snappier.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @09:49AM (#55553679)

    Perhaps Google's excellent search engine will help Mozilla find all the missing Firefox users.

  • Especially Firefox's flexbox implementation had a noticable performance issue when used with many child elements. Much of this has been solved, which is really great.

    On websites like https://www.iconfu.com/ [iconfu.com] where a lot of computing is done inside the browser, you can still feel a slight performance difference, but it is almost negligible. It feels nice to have a real competition again.
  • as if Mozilla had the user's best interests in mind...Firefox Quantum (aka, Firefox 57), is the company's effort to correct its mistakes

    And dropping XUL while not having an equivalent substitute in WebExtensions is doing that? Nope.

  • Since Mozilla didn't throw Thunderbird entirely to the wolves, does this meant that Thunderbird's offensively cozy relationship with Bing will also end? (The default contextual action for highlighted text in Thunderbird has been a Bing search for the text, for perhaps two years now. Searching with Google is an option buried in a context menu pick list.)

  • Why wouldn't you just cram an instance of searx [github.io] on your server and completely be done with the Search Engine Battle?

  • by Jerry ( 6400 )

    I downloaded the Linux version of FF57 to try out on my KDE Neon User Edition and the first thing I did was to check the search engine. It was set for DuckDuckGo.

    I quickly changed it to StartPage.

    FF57 automatically carried over my FF settings from the previous version, including links and add-ons. Only one add-on didn't work, but the email button continued to work fine.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter