Yahoo has achieved its highest search share in the U.S. since 2009, according to the latest data from web analytics firm StatCounter.
The improvement comes soon after Mozilla’s Firefox web browser started offering Yahoo as its default search engine, ending a 10-year partnership with Google.
However, Yahoo still has a massive amount of ground to cover if it’s to catch Google – the Mountain View company still enjoyed 75.2 percent of U.S. search share in December, down from 77.3 percent a month earlier, while Yahoo climbed to 10.4 percent from 8.6 percent. But it could soon overtake Bing, which also grew its share, but at a slower rate, from 12.1 percent in November to 12.5 percent last month.
StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said Mozilla’s decision to switch to Yahoo had had a “definite impact” on U.S. Internet usage, adding, “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”
If users choose to go with Yahoo, then the upward trajectory looks set to continue for the company for some time to come, a situation that should help it to grow its ad revenue as it fights to compete with search giant Google.
However, the fact that Firefox users currently only represent just over 12 percent of Internet usage in the U.S. means Yahoo’s potential growth via Mozilla’s browser is somewhat limited.
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Existing users of Firefox who haven’t at some point jumped into Preferences to switch from Google to another search provider will be asked if they want to start using Yahoo as their provider when they upgrade to version 34 (or above) of Firefox. For those downloading the browser for the very first time, Yahoo will appear as the default search provider.
Keen to get as many web surfers using its search tool as soon as possible, Yahoo has been prompting people to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox at the earliest opportunity.
The precise terms of Yahoo’s deal with Mozilla have never been revealed, though the fact that Google had apparently been paying Mozilla around $300 million a year to be the browser’s default search provider indicates Yahoo is forking out a hefty sum to put its search product front and center.