Ubuntu Switches to Yahoo! Search ... Kinda

Published on by Jim Mendenhall

There’s been a lot of noise recently in the Ubuntu community about the announcement that Canonical is planning to switch the default search engine and home page in Firefox to Yahoo! Search. People are tweeting about it, podcasting about it, and generally getting worked up. Some think that it’s the end of the world (or an MS takeover of Canonical), some could care less.

Personally, I think it’s a good move. It’s actually kind of refreshing to see results from a different search engine now and then. Besides, it only takes two clicks to get you back to using Google. This is where things get interesting. You see, if you chose Google as your search engine in the search bar at the top of Firefox, you also will get a new default home page … featuring Google. A closer look seems to show that Canonical has not abandoned their partnership with Google at all and still sends a partner ID along with your search results.

Is Canonical partnering with any search engine that’s willing to pay, and selling the default to the highest bidder? I sure hope so! It makes great business sense. Bring on Bing! If it makes Canonical cash that they can use to fund Linux development, I’m all for them taking MS money too. As long as they give you a choice, people will have their favorite search engine, and Canonical makes money - win win.

Here’s screenshots of the new Firefox home page and search fields showing the partner IDs.

Yahoo! Search, the default:

Google, the default after 2 clicks: