Written by: Mel Jones, Nick Lynch and Cat Collis
In November of 2014, Mozilla Firefox and Yahoo partnered in an attempt to overthrow the search empire, Google. Soon after, Yahoo and Bing announced their split, with Yahoo’s new attempt to restart their own search offering, now called Gemini.
Since Mozilla Firefox and Yahoo entered their five-year alliance, Yahoo search gained its highest volume since August 2009. In January of 2015, it had increased its volume by over 2% in a two-month period, taking home 10.32% of all mobile and desktop search volume in the United States.
In tandem with Yahoo’s increase, Google dropped to its lowest usage point on desktop and mobile in the US since March 2009, and to its lowest available tracking point on StatCounter.com, dating back seven years to July of 2008. Was this a sign of the future?
Months later, the power seems to be shifting back. Yahoo has taken a plunge back down to 8.38% of search volume (a 0.19% lower volume than it had this same time last year), while Google has struck back to reclaim 81.47% of search volume (a 1.49% increase from the same time last year).
However, it seems like the rebel Yahoo isn’t one to give up so easily. Yahoo has teamed up with Oracle to encourage users to substitute its search engine in place of Google. When users download or update Java software going forward, a small box in the terms and conditions (which comes checked as a default) will result in a switch of search engines. Many users will be surprised to find that if they speed through the update, they’ll have a new default search engine.
Bing has also been making moves with their new search task bar, which will be installed on Windows 10. The task bar will be on the desktop, allowing users easy search access without ever opening a browser. Many users with Windows 7 or after will be given the option to upgrade their current computers to Windows 10, adding even more exposure for Bing.
These moves aren’t the only factors affecting Google’s search engine dominance. There has been some speculation that Apple’s Searchlight is attempting to establish itself as a stand-alone search engine. Although this development is still up in the air, Google is also receiving even more pressure from Yahoo and Mozilla, both of which are stepping up their software capabilities and performance. Yahoo has been optimizing their mobile search results, while Mozilla is improving their search interface at its core.
The Yahoo/Mozilla deal has helped Yahoo and Bing to gain some ground on Google on the search engine battlefield, but as Yahoo and Bing continue to become more independent, it is unclear exactly which direction they plan on going. There have been reports of Yahoo testing out Google search results and ads as a result of Yahoo and Bing’s new deal, which allows Yahoo to explore other search provider offerings. Is this nothing more than a test, or a possible new search alliance? While all of this is still very much clouded to the force, Yahoo continues to make advancements and hold their position strong.
While the Google search empire still reigns supreme, Yahoo and others continue to challenge their position. Never tell them the odds!