“Mozilla is running an experiment on 1% of the Firefox desktop population currently, which sets the default search engine to Bing in the web browser,” said Martin Brinkmann for ghacks.
Search choice is an ongoing issue. We’ve written about search choice before as it’s been a topic of conversation even beyond the search community:
Google is the usual default. “Like all browsers, Mozilla Firefox automatically configures a browser to a default search engine for performing searches via the address bar,” wrote Lawrence Abrams on BleepingComputer. Chrome obviously defaults to Google, but so do Brave and Firefox.
Last August, Google and Firefox reached a deal where Google paid Mozilla “between $400 and $450 million per year for the privilege of becoming the Firefox web browser’s default search engine in most regions,” said Brinkmann.
The new test. “The study started on September 6 and it will run until early 2022, likely January 2022. About 1% of Firefox desktop users may notice that the default search engine is changed when the installation of Firefox is picked for the experiment,” explained Brinkmann. Why are they running this test with Bing? Mozilla hasn’t disclosed the reason, but most of their revenue comes from search engine deals.
“Mozilla might want to have a backup plan when the search contract with Google runs out in 2023. Google may be interested in extending the search deal, but if the deal falls through, Microsoft would be one of the few remaining options for Mozilla,” said Brinkmann.
Why we care. Many SEOs often forego Bing optimization in favor of their higher traffic counterpart, but this is another reason to diversify your target search engines. It’s also another reason to potentially invest in Microsoft Advertising. While 1% of users isn’t a lot right now if the Google deal falls through having a Bing/Microsoft strategy may be beneficial if Mozilla makes it the default search engine.