The choices inside Ubuntu
Hearing that the next Ubuntu release will use Yahoo! as the default search engine in Firefox leaves me with a twinge of uneasiness. My misgiving — and it’s a small one — is not so much with the decision as with why it was made.
In itself, the decision is trivial enough. If you dislike Yahoo!, you can easily change the default by going to the search engine field in the upper right corner and clicking on the icon and choosing Manage Search Engines from the drop-down menu.
More importantly, to my surprise, comparing half a dozen sets of search results in Google and Yahoo! suggests that Yahoo! generally returns more results than Google — often at a ratio of three or four to one. Nor are the first page results very different in the two search engines. Yahoo!’s image searches are generally less successful than Google, but otherwise, from a practical viewpoint, the change in the default may actually be an improvement.
However, that isn’t the reason the change is being made. According to Platform Team member Rick Spencer, who broke the news in an email to the ubuntu-devel mailing list on behalf of Canonical, Ubuntu’s commercial arm, the change will be made because:
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