Russian Firefox drops Google for Yandex

Although Google has been the default search engine on popular web-browser Firefox's search bar (located right next to the address bar) for as long as many can remember, Russian users will soon find a new face taking Google's place: Yandex. According to Mozilla General Counsel Harvey Anderson, Russian-localized versions of Firefox 3.1 will have Google rival Yandex as their default search engine, with Google moving to the number 2 spot on the list. According to Mr. Anderson, "Russian users really wanted direct access to the Yandex search services in official Firefox RU builds."

This move marks the beginning of a new partnership between Yandex and Mozilla, one that almost certainly involves ad revenue sharing. Currently, Mozilla shares ad revenues with Google for every search performed through the default browser search settings. This agreement accounts for the large majority of Mozilla's total revenue (88% in 2007), and it may be inferred, then, that Yandex must be offering Mozilla a sweeter deal than Google. Founded in 1997, Yandex is currently Russia's largest search engine, with 44% of traffic to Russian websites coming from the site (as opposed to Google's 24%).

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