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Firefox bets on Yandex

Cooperation of Mozilla and Google is long and beneficial for both sides. So, why did Mozilla decide to prefer Yandex, the leading Russian search engine, as the default search engine and start page for Russian locale builds, starting with Firefox 3.1? For now, there is no official statement of Mozilla-Yandex business agreement at Mozilla official site, but we can learn details at bugzilla.mozilla.org.

What’s the reason of dropping Google, one of the major revenue sources of Mozilla?

The most obvious reason is that Yandex has the largest market share in Russia (≈45%), while Google is #2 with ≈35% (according to reports of liveinternet.ru). Nevertheless, market share is not the one and only parameter to measure the quality of search provided by search engine. Market share is a result of skilful marketing more than of quality search. There is a great resource to analyze search quality of different search engines for both Russian and English language queries – http://analyzethis.ru. Selecting Russian query language, we’ll see that Yandex leads in most parameters of quality search. For English language, Google has better results. Even without analytics, in practice we can see that while being great in Russian, Yandex gives rather poor results in English. Thus, we can assume that most of Yandex users still switch to Google to find something outside the ru domain. So, the difference in Yandex’s and Google’s popularity in Russian market is not so big to terminate a beneficial agreement with Google.

That’s why I incline toward other reason. As it’s known, Google recently changed its software pack – Google Pack and Firefox isn’t a Google Pack default browser any more. The place of Google Pack default browser was given to… let me guess… maybe, Google Chrome?! Of course. Could there be other applicants? 😉 It’s hard to estimate Mozilla’s losses resulted from this change, but it’s easy to understand the prospect and Google’s plans for future. Chrome is and will be Google’s favorite, and this is natural – Google wants to promote its own product first.

So, maybe that’s why Mozilla’s looking for new partners…

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January 12, 2009 - Posted by | Browsers, Mozilla Firefox, search engines, Yandex | ,

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