[Commentary] Mozilla ends partnership with Google

Mozilla Corporation recently announced their terminated relationship with Google. In the newer version of their Firefox, Google will no longer be the default search engine, in favour of Yahoo! (which is powered by Bing’s search algorithms) in most countries, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia.

But is this a wise choice?

Let us first talk about the reason why Mozilla made the switch. Mozilla Firefox is currently gradually losing its share in the browser market to Google Chrome, and as the contract between Mozilla and Google ends, it seems like the perfect opportunity to deny Google its increasingly omnipresence on the computers we use daily. But it’s not like Google is going away. Google is merely not the “default” search engine on the browser. Users can still manually switch to Google in the settings.

 

But Mozilla loses more.

Google is paying Mozilla upwards of US$250 million every year to remain as the default search engine. Thats as much as 90% of Mozilla’s total revenue gone. With Mozilla Corporation not doing very well, that’s a really bold move. And since Google’s search engine is still there, Google fans (like yours truly) will still set it as their default. So that’s money lost for … no reason.

 

Furthermore, to make this move as the browser share is on the decline is beyond risky. If we assume that users prefer Google over Yahoo’s search engine, Firefox will just end up with a lousier default search engine. So why would users use a browser with a lousier search engine? Isn’t that just inviting trouble to the declining market share?

Oh, and Yahoo uses Bing’s search algorithm. One more joke there, but that’s for another day.

 

Remember the old times, back when Chrome was first released? It was a memory hog. The advantage Chrome had was that it was blazing fast, but its memory usage was horrifying. In those bad old days when I only had 1 GB RAM on my computer, having a browser that eats up 300MB without even having surfed the net is a strict no-go. Firefox had its advantage then – it was, and still is, an extremely light browser.

But luck is turning in favour of Google. With 8GB RAM at the minimum for a new computer nowadays, we have the resources to sacrifice RAM for speed. Essentially, Firefox has lost its advantage.

So instead of going at loggerheads with Google, they need to understand why they are losing their market share and work on it. The above was just one reason that I could think of.

 

At the very least, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

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