According to this post on the Ubuntu mailing lists, come Ubuntu Lucid Lynx this April, the default search engine for Firefox will no longer be Google but rather Yahoo!. Also, the default Firefox home page will also change to that of the default search engine, though you can easily change the search engine and home page to your favorite with just a few clicks.
“I am writing to apprise you of two small but important changes coming to Firefox in Lucid. I have asked the desktop team to start preparing these changes to make them available in Lucid as soon as reasonably possible. Probably on the order of weeks,” wrote Rick Spencer, the leader of Canonical’s desktop team.
The reason for such a deal as explained by Mr. Spencer is “because Canonical has negotiated a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! and this revenue will help Canonical to provide developers and resources to continue the open development of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Platform. This change will help provide these resources as well as continuing to respect our user’s default search across Firefox.”
I find this deal quite interesting though welcome. We all know Google used to be the default search for Firefox in Ubuntu, now switching to Yahoo! simply means they offered a much fatter deal. This is good news since it will go a long way to ensure that we are not going to see any Ubuntu free and pro editions as a means to raise revenue for continued development.
I have also heard that Yahoo’s privacy policies are much better than that of Google. What I find actually interesting is that sometime last year, Yahoo! reached a deal with Microsoft to have Bing power Yahoo! searches. Now we are going to see Yahoo! being the default search provider for Ubuntu. This will really be interesting. Only time will tell how this turns out.