It’s been a quiet few years on the browser war front with only small shifts in market share and the major browser apps pinching all the best features from each other. New battle lines are being drawn, however, in the wake of Yahoo replacing Google as Firefox’s default search engine — head to a Yahoo page today and you’re likely to see a prompt to “Upgrade to the new Firefox” appear in the top-right corner of your browser window.
TechCrunch spotted the embedded advert, which seems to appear in all browsers that aren’t developed by Mozilla: The plug shows up on most Yahoo sites, including the main Yahoo portal, Yahoo Sports and Flickr. Click through on the prompt and you’ll be taken through to the download page for the latest version of Firefox, now “with added Yahoo” in the words of its developers.
Yahoo’s Web search is actually powered by Microsoft Bing and the two companies are obviously as eager as possible to get users to make the switch from Google. Few people ever bother to change the search provider in their browser application — or even to install a different browser other than the one that comes with their machine — so default settings are hugely important.
No one from Yahoo or Mozilla has made any comment about this small promotional plug but it’s discreet enough not to cause a huge amount of annoyance for anyone using Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari. The two firms announced a “strategic partnership” in November, a partnership that would provide “a framework for exploring future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets.”
Do you still give some serious consideration to the issue of choosing a Web browser? Or can you no longer tell the differences between the main contenders? Let us know in the comments below.