Ubuntu is switching the default search from Google to Yahoo!
Those of you testing out the development version of Ubuntu Lucid should notice a change in Firefox very soon. The default search provider for new installations of Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) and upgrades will be Yahoo! and not Google. Canonical have struck a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! which generates income for the company. This revenue should help pay the wages of Ubuntu Developers employed by Canonical, and support the infrastructure required to develop and build the distribution.
So when using the search box in the top right corner of Firefox on Ubuntu, you’ll be taken to a Yahoo! results page rather than the old default Google one. If you are upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 and you had Google as your search provider (the previous default) then this will change to Yahoo!. You can of course change the search provider, this is merely the default for Lucid. Doing so will mean your search revenue won’t go via Yahoo! to Canonical. That’s your choice, clearly.
In addition, the browser ‘start page’ – that is the page you see initially when you open the browser – will reflect whatever the default search provider is. So in the top right, if you choose ‘Google’ you’ll get the Google start page, and conversely if you choose ‘Yahoo!’ you’ll get the Yahoo! start page when you first open the browser. Again, you can change the start page to be blank or use some other search provider. These are just the new defaults.
It’s possible that additional search vendors may be added to the list – Bing anyone? – but it seems that for Lucid there will be at least the two mentioned above. Users who already run Ubuntu and are upgrading to Lucid, but don’t use Google won’t notice a difference, but they’re welcome to manually switch to the new Yahoo! search provider if they want to financially support the Ubuntu project that way.
No doubt this will cause some consternation within the Ubuntu community, as many find changes to “their” browser to be tantamount to breaking and entering their home. Indeed when these things were previously messed with there were a few heated complaints and reports of broken-ness.
Hopefully the dialog on this change will remain civil and, well.. lucid.