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Mozilla Firefox testing Microsoft Bing as Default Search Engine for 1% of Users

Mozilla is driving an experiment on 1% of the Firefox desktop population currently, that sets the default search engine to Bing in the web browser.

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, is testing setting the default search engine to Microsoft Bing for 1% of its users. Mozilla in a statement said from Sept 6, 2021, 1% of the Desktop user base will be experimenting with Bing as the default search engine. The study will last into early 2022, anticipated to be wrapped up by the end of January.

By default, Firefox is loaded with different search engines and one of these is set as the default search engine. The default search engine is utilised when users type a query into the browser's address bar or use the search field on the browser's new tab page.

Mozilla doesn't reveal why it is running the study. One plausible explanation is provided by Sören Hentzschel, who is hinting that Mozilla might want to have a backup plan when the search contract with Google runs out in 2023. Google may be looking in extending the search deal, but if the deal falls through, Microsoft would be one of the few surviving options for Mozilla. Most of the revenue is generated from search engine deals.

There are regional differences when we talk about default search engines, but in most regions, it is Google Search. Mozilla and Google extended the search deal in 2020 for another three years. Google is paying Mozilla "between $400 and $450 million per year" so that its search engine is the default in Firefox in most regions. Google has been Firefox's default search engine since 2017, when Mozilla terminated its search deal with Yahoo early.

Can the default search engine be changed to any other?

Yes, Firefox users can change the default search engine to one of the other engines that are added by default, or an engine that is not included but can be also be added. Microsoft's Bing search engine is set by default and users can switch to it in Firefox with just a few clicks.

To check if you are enlisted in this or other studies, you can check it by typing about:studies in the Firefox address bar and pressing enter. The browser will display a screen with all studies that your browser is enrolled in.

What do we say

As of now, 1% of users isn’t a lot but if the Google deal falls through having a Bing/Microsoft strategy may be profitable if Mozilla makes it the default search engine. How many Firefox users do you think would revert the change to Google or switch to another browser entirely if Bing would become the default?


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