How to prevent Firefox from automatically switching you to Yahoo search

Dreading the notion of Yahoo becoming your default search engine in Firefox later this month? Here's how to stop that from happening.

Mozilla Firefox

We told you it was coming and now it's almost here. In December, Mozilla will switch the default search provider in Firefox from Google to Yahoo in the U.S. When that happens any American Firefox user who relies on the default settings for search will suddenly see Yahoo replace Google, a Mozilla representative recently told Computerworld.

Why this matters: The switch from Google to Yahoo is a big deal for Mozilla. A large chunk of the Firefox maker's funding comes from its search deal, and for years this has meant Mozilla was dependent on one of its biggest browser competitors—Google. For Mozilla the move away from Google makes a lot of sense, but for many users who it probably won't. A good number of Firefox fans likely haven't switched their default search provider in Firefox for two reasons: they like Google and most of us rarely mess with default settings anyway. So what do you do when you're happy with Firefox's current defaults, but aren't so pleased about the upcoming ones?

I'm glad you asked.

How to keep Google as the default in Firefox

If you're a die-hard Google fan, keeping Google as the default in Firefox is fairly simple. Mozilla told Computerworld that only users who haven't changed their defaults will be automatically switched over to Yahoo. If, for example, you prefer Bing as your search provider in Firefox, then you won't be affected by the change.

The problem arises if you like the default. Google is the most popular search engine in the United States with 67.3 percent of the market, according to metrics firm comScore. 

The easiest way to keep Google is to install a Firefox add-on called Google Default, which was created to help Linux Mint users who were also switched away from Google in 2012.

Once you've installed the add-on, click on the Google icon in Firefox's search box and choose Google Default from the drop down menu. You're still using Google for search, but because you no longer use the default setting in Firefox you should be fine when the Yahoo shift happens.

Time for something new?

With Firefox switching you from Google anyway December is a good time to consider trying something new. Google may be the most popular search engine in the U.S., but there are many strong contenders out there. The privacy-minded DuckDuckGo introduced a major redesign in May that included many Google-like results, such as videos, images, definitions, local information, and Knowledge Graph-like content.

Microsoft's Bing—which incidentally powers Yahoo's search engine under the hood—is also a worthy competitor. In September, PCWorld's Mark Hachman detailed several reasons why he switched to Bing as his primary search provider, including strong image and video search features, as well as web results on par with Google's.

You can switch providers in Firefox by clicking the search icon next to the address bar and selecting the engine of your choice. You can also do this to re-select Google as your primary search engine after the Yahoo Search switch rolls out.

But if you're not interested in trying something new and can't be bothered with messing around with the Firefox defaults, Google searches will still be easy do in Firefox even after the change. Along with the new search provider, Firefox is rolling out an improved search interface that will let you get results from Google or any other installed search provider on Firefox with just one click.

This story, "How to prevent Firefox from automatically switching you to Yahoo search" was originally published by PCWorld.

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