The story of why I switched from Google to Yahoo

firefox_logo-only_RGBI finally did it. I finally made the switch. I finally left Google for Yahoo. No, not Google’s Gmail, Android, or Maps. Rather, Google Search. Unfortunately for Marissa Mayer & co at Yahoo, I did not do it willingly and I did not stay for long. (In fact, I have already switched back to Google.)

So why — rather, how — did I switch from Google to Yahoo? Because Firefox made me and Yahoo cleverly modeled their search engine (which is powered by Microsoft’s Bing, by the way) to look very similar to Google. In fact, so similar that I didn’t even notice the difference.

If you have been reading the news, you probably know Yahoo is now the default search engine in Firefox — starting from Firefox 34, which released on Dec 1. I read the news but brushed it off not realizing the change would affect me. After all, I’ve been using Google as the default search engine in Firefox since I was in my mother’s womb. I, for some reason, figured Yahoo would be made the default search engine for all new downloads/installs of Firefox — not existing ones that upgrade to latest version of Firefox. I was wrong.

Here is what happened.

I was using my computer. As I like to do, I used Firefox’s address bar to perform a very simple search query. I found what I was looking for and opened it in a new tab, as I usually do (yes, I’m a tab freak). When I was done browsing the website I had opened, I looked around in my tab bar for the familiar “g” icon to indicate which tab was the one which I had Google open in. I didn’t find it at first glance. Confounded, I looked again. Still didn’t find it. Thinking I may have closed it by accident, I gave it another shot. That is when I saw it: the purple Yahoo icon.

You see, what had happened is, Yahoo have designed their search engine to look very similar to Google’s and I unknowingly used Yahoo instead of Google:



Look at the two pages. Sure, they aren’t exactly the same (such as the Yahoo logo at the top) but they are surely more similar than different. Or at least similar enough to fool people into not realizing they are no longer using Google Search — people who are used to being sent to Google from within Firefox, people who skip past the logo area and go straight to the search results. Heck, it fooled me and I’m not the average Joe when it comes to tech.

It is actually a very clever move by Yahoo: it is literally forcing people to use Yahoo’s search without them making the conscience decision to ditch Google, which is often the hurdle that keeps Google Search users still using Google — it is “good enough”, so why switch? Yahoo’s goal, of course, is that by the time people realize they are using Yahoo, they will have decided to stick with it going forward.

I’m actually surprised Google is mum about this. When a competitor makes their product look so similar to your product that your customers mistake the two… well, then, you need to do something. Maybe not necessarily legal action, but something. To top it off, it looks like regular Yahoo search — the one when you go to and search from there — is not designed like what is shown above. So I can only assume Yahoo has modified the design only for users who use it as the default search engine in Firefox… which goes back to my point of Yahoo trying to gain users by trickery (and it is working).

Bravo Marissa Mayer. You got me. And millions of other people, I reckon. Too bad it was a short stay.

P.S. If you are looking to switch back to Google search from Yahoo in Firefox as your default search engine, read our handy dandy guide on how to do just hat.

Related Posts

  • Goran

    Why is anyone using google at all is beyond me. Use ixquick or startpage (the same thing, just the different name). Much, much better. And safer. google spies will never knew what you are looking for.

  • Michael

    I Suggest use DuckDuckGo as the others say before, (
    When you get use to it in less than a 2 weeks, you realize that is better that any search engine,
    it shows the correct results, you will not need to use another one.

    More Info:

  • Thomas

    Im pretty sure this is some kind of prank or fraud article. The two pictures could be easily faked with any simple picture editer

  • Thomas

    Im pretty sure this is some kind of prank or fraud article. The two pictures could be easily faked

  • Col. Panek

    [@Dee Sallows] I doubt it was either Yahoo or a “virus hunter”. It was probably a malware you downloaded.

    My Yahoo search page looks totally different from yours; it’s branded by my OS, Linux Mint and has their logo (and Yahoo’s) on top. DuckDuckGo or Google have no branding.

    And if I go to Ask, I get an interesting answer:
    Q: What is bing
    A: Bing is a noun referring to a heap or pile, esp of spoil from a mine.

  • Dee Sallows

    This happened to me. Yahoo came in disguided as virus hunter and took control of my computer. It took days and a professional to get back to Google, and I am outraged. This not the way to gain repeat costomers.

  • RawData

    There’s always Mycroft Project to help people to find suitable search engine. As I passionately hate localized versions, I chose Google US (no redirect), because it gives best search results for me.

  • TerryB

    The thing is, even if I didn’t notice that Google had become Yahoo/Bing, the search results would be a hint.
    I have tried to use Yahoo/Bing. If only to try to escape Google’s clutches.
    But the quality of search still hasn’t improved enough. It’s a lot better than it was in the days when searching for anything threw up pages and pages of sites offering to sell you the object and nothing about it.
    But I find it is still not as useful as Google’s. The results are not nearly as mercenary as they used to be – which is the Bing aspect I guess – but they still seem to be quite generic and not as closely related to the search terms as Google.

  • Col. Panek

    [@JonE] If there’s a good reason your wife didn’t buy a Chromebook for $200 or so instead of renting a Dell, I’d like to hear it.

    Oh, right, it’s too hard to learn a new OS.

  • JonE

    I concur with [@Col. Panek] aka [@Captain Obvious] DuckDuckGo is the way to go. I also distrust Microsoft, Google, and the NSA. I will use Google Maps in a secure browser, but have not and will not install anything Google on my computer any longer. Unforunately I don’t have the time to learn new OS’s so I’m stuck with MS Windows, for now.

    My wife bought a new computer the other day; the fist thing I did was to get the wireless connection up and running so she could acces the internet. The second thing I did was download and install the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. Despite the mess Mozilla has made of Firefox it’s still the best browser I’ve tested. The first thing I did to Firefox was to change the default search engine to “DuckDuckGo” I was very pleasantly surprised to find DuckDuckGo in the list of search engines already installed.

    She (the wife) did three things I would never do; bought a Dell (Inspiron 15), with AMD on board, with Windows 8 installed and to be accurate she hasn’t bought anything yet since she is renting from a well known rental store which is something else I wouldn’t do. When everything is said and done she could have a full blown PC with Intel and Windows 7 for the same price, of less, with a lot better performance and a lot more features and hardware, but I digress. So far the Dell has proven to be a piece of junk; I don’t know whether it’s the computer or the OS.

    Anyway ole way “DuckDuckGo” uses multiple search engines to give it’s results. If your not satisfied with DuckDuck’s results DuckDuck usually gives you the option of getting more results from either Google or Bing.

    But, if you don’t like DuckDuck then download Epic Privacy Browser and use their search engine; I’ve always been pleased with Epic search results and best of all your search is not tracked.

  • A Ware

    Personally, I started noticing crappy search results THEN I discovered why and switched back. It was irksome but it DID prove to me that the difference between Google & Bing was not Coke and Pepsi. More like Coke and Tab (and if you’ve ever tried Tab, you get the comparison).

  • Kut

    There is only one search engine that’s ‘s Google, but Google totally sucks and that’s why there is also Disconnect.

  • Captain Obvious

    Bow to your Google overlord. The rest of us will be untracked at DuckDuckGo.

  • Sam Cro

    Mozilla is free to do what they want but when they started screwing with my settings, I get irritated. Got irritated. Jax Teller irritated. The Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Jax, not the wimpy Season 1 dude. So I asked myself, what would he do?

    Forget, for a moment, that I’m channeling a character on tv with highly questionable morals who finally kills himself because of it. Focus on the badass image of an outlaw biker who discovers that someone’s been messing with him.

    So what WOULD he do? Shoot a bunch of people in the face? Drown the Mozilla guy in a vat of urine? Nah, he’d arrange it so the POS who tried to benefit from this — Yahoo in this case — got crushed by their competition.

    Then I realized, Marissa Mayer is ALREADY getting crushed by Google and there wasn’t a need to do anything except to switch back to Google as my search engine and laugh at the punk-assed loser bitch that she’s become. So that’s what I did.

    Anyway, that is MY story. I sort of like mine better than Ashraf’s

  • David Roper

    read our handy dandy guide [2] on how to do just hat.
    should be
    read our handy dandy guide [2] on how to do just that.

    Good article – but it scared me at first that you switched and for what reason??

  • Frank D

    Thank you for that heads-up, Ashraf!

  • Col. Panek

    I am wary of Google, but I hate Microsoft and the NSA, so I use DuckDuckGo except when I want to use Google maps. If Mozilla gets more support from Yahoo that’s fine with me.

  • Souter Johnny

    Google can hardly complain. How many people fell for the “Upgrade your web browser to Chrome now” button that they used to have on their homepage. Without enough mugs doing what the computer told them, would Chrome have the share of the browser market that they have now?

  • Mike S.

    Used Google before, now been using Bing–candidly, I don’t notice much difference, in general use. There are a few occasions when one or the other is preferred: Google for shopping and for greater ability to limit the time range for results, and Bing for video previews.

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Mags] Denial is how the Google-infection starts. Purge yourself. Do it now.

  • melen001

    Google… Yahoo… and FireFox. It’s all about the money, that’s all it is. I was surprised after updating FireFox and suddenly seeing Yahoo as my default search engine. Like, “what went wrong?” was my first response. I barely use Yahoo and after so many years using Google it was a bit difficult just to look at the Yahoo logo. So I switched back to my accustomed to look at Google as usual. Many are questioning why this has happened but, like I said, it’s all about the money and Mozilla is just trying to increment their income.

  • Mags

    [@CJ Cotter] I understand your point of view, and I don’t use anything else Google. However, I still think Google is the best search engine around.

  • Mags

    I just switched from V19 to V35 2 days ago. But didn’t have any issues re Google & Yahoo. But for me it was a no brainer.

    Not everyone uses Since I’m Canadian, I got rid of the search bar on the top and instead put in my Bookmarks Toolbar in my older versions of Firefox. Therefore when I upgraded to Version 34 I still use

    I would never use Yahoo or any other search engine as I just never get the results I’m looking for.

  • Sca Malarm

    Maybe Ashraf should get checked for dyslogoa. He appears to be missing things?

  • CJ Cotter

    I tell my Google-worshipping coworker that Google is the Biblical “Mark of the Beast”, as described in the book of Revelation. It is their goal to take over the world, take over our lives, and take over our minds, until humanity is totally controlled by Google. He laughs and scoffs.

  • googlesucks but

    Yahoo sucks more. That’s why I have a dedicated button (no toolbar) for Google Search. That way at least I know where I’m going… I think.

  • sl0j0n

    Hello all.
    Just updated Firefox yesterday, or the day before.
    Sure enough, it came with the “New” yahoo search.
    Clicked around a little, & found the dropdown arrow in the search field, got the popup, made the change.
    Moved on, too.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!