16 июл. 2006 г.

Firefox: the search engine's favourite

By bigmouthmedia

The recently released Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 incorporates Yahoo! Live Search so you can find what you want faster. It does this by suggesting search results instantaneously, in a drop down list, as you type. This technology speeds up search and, as a bonus, brings up related search terms which you might not have considered. Live Search also shows spelling suggestions and enables you to use keyboard shortcuts to help you get to the results that you want. Firefox searching just got smarter!

Of course, this functionality is something the Google Toolbar has had for a while. And here Yahoo! is with it now for Firefox. Actually, both Search Engines have had online versions of this tool for a while, so the real news here is that Yahoo! is backing Firefox with this tool. We already know Google backs Firefox so it seems it's in the privileged position of being the search engine's favourite, or is it all just a case of backing both horses?

Interestingly, "tmcw" comments on the Yahoo! search Blog: "I really wonder about the flow of money between the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Yahoo!. Since Google originally struck a deal with the foundation to make itself the primary provider (and to add "I'm feeling lucky" searching in the address bar), I would assume Yahoo 'donated' a good bit of money for this. It's a war over dependency, in my opinion."

The Mozilla Foundation is wary of entering into too many sponsorship deals however, as they've learnt from Netscape's experiences. Gervase Markham, a Mozilla staff member, said: "Netscape ran into trouble with its browser as it sold every bookmark and link, and couldn't change the browser in a way that was better for users without breaking its deals".

There's no doubt, however, that the Mozilla Foundation's deal with Google is playing a crucial role in helping the non-profit organisation challenge Microsoft as, "without that deal the Foundation would not have been in a position to have hired some of the people that it has".

Although Google is Mozilla's premier distribution and search partner in the US, Yahoo! has made a strong play by partnering with Mozilla in the Asian market. While Google is, hands down, the most popular search engine in the US and the world in general, Yahoo enjoys a strong brand in the Pacific Rim, being the most popular web destination in Japan and equally well known throughout China, Korea and Taiwan.

Mozilla's partner strategy seems to be working as Wednesday saw the announcement that Firefox is gaining ground on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, with its overall global market share reaching 12.93 percent. Regional figures are even more encouraging with Firefox owning 15.82 percent of the U.S. browser market, 20.41 percent in Italy, 24.23 percent in Australia and a huge 39.02 percent in Germany.