Mozilla drops Yahoo search for Google with new Firefox Quantum browser release

Mozilla announced that they have terminated their search deal with Yahoo and that their new version of the Firefox browser, named Firefox Quantum, will feature Google as the default search provider.
“As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” Mozilla said in a statement.
Three years ago, in 2014, Mozilla partnered with Yahoo to become the default search engine on their popular browser. Previously, Google was the default on Firefox browsers.
Mozilla Chief Business and Legal Officer Denelle Dixon told Techcrunch:
We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo! based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users. We believe there are opportunities to work with Oath and Verizon outside of search. As part of our

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Apple switches back to Google search results for iOS & Mac

Apple has switched back to using Google for their search results needs in both iOS and their Mac operating system over Spotlight search, TechCrunch reports. Google and Apple spokespersons confirmed this with Search Engine Land via email.
The “search the web” results you get in both search interfaces will no longer be pointing to Bing, but rather will show you results from Google. In 2014, Apple officially dropped Google results and switched to Bing. Google and Apple have a deal that’s been estimated to be worth $3 billion, and it is unclear if this is part of that deal or not.
Here is a statement TechCrunch received from Apple:
“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari. We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Here

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Report: Google ending ‘first click free’ to help publishers boost subscriptions

According to a report (registration required) in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Google is ending its “first click free” (FCF) program, which provides users access to content behind publisher subscription paywalls when they click through from Google results. The move is intended to help boost subscription rates.
According to the story, Google will allow publishers to offer FCF on a voluntary basis, but failure to do so won’t result in any rankings hit. FCF was introduced in 2007 as a way to expose subscription content to search users so that they wouldn’t be frustrated by paywalls and to help them test-drive content as an enticement to later subscribe.
As Google explained at the time it wrote about the program:
First Click Free is a way for publishers to share their subscription-only content with Google News readers. All articles that are accessed from Google News are allowed to skip over the subscription page . . .We like to think of First click free as

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Google making renewed effort to help news publishers drive more subscriptions

Google has always been treated by the news industry as a kind of frenemy. Many news organizations have a tortured history with Google, including some who’ve successfully lobbied against Google in Europe. Yet for roughly a decade Google has been trying to help publishers make more money while continuing to try and serve users and its own commercial interests.
Google news-industry outreach has taken multiple forms over the years. For example, in 2009 Google proposed a range of tools and services built around the notion of “micro-payments” to publishers. The proposal included multiple components, including search, e-commerce and advertising for news organizations.
Out of these efforts eventually came Google’s First Click Free program, whereby users could gain access to otherwise subscription-protected news content in search results — with the intention of improving the outlook for subscription revenue, though Google hasn’t uniformly enforced it. Google’s Consumer Surveys provide payments to publishers (take a survey for content access) and so on.
AMP is also

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What Does Yahoo’s New Google Partnership Mean For SEO’s Future?

For the past 15 years or so, the search engine hierarchy has been pretty clear: Google is the dominating force in the search world, with all other platforms solidly behind.
Bing came onto the scene a little late but has grown steadily to reach a search market share of more than 20 percent, chipping away at Google’s still-dominant 66-percent position.
What’s interesting is that for the past few years, Bing has also powered Google’s next most popular rival, Yahoo. Though serving users with a Yahoo-branded skin and platform, the real “guts” of the engine were offered by Bing.
Now, Yahoo has signed a new partnership with Google, reuniting two of the once-fiercest competitors in the search world and pointing toward the future of search engine relations.
Details Of The Deal
The Yahoo-Google deal apparently arose after the terms of its deal with Bing were renegotiated back in March. Under the new deal terms, Yahoo had the right to seek search ad provisions from

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Google Tests Direct Hotel Booking

Google is apparently testing out direct hotel booking. The company is seeking to have hotel searchers book and pay via Google rather than handing off the lead to a third party travel site or hotel site. This was first pointed out by travel news site Tnooz.
Other than the example provided in the Tnooz article (a Washington DC Kimpton/IHG property) I was unable to duplicate the direct booking functionality, despite numerous hotel searches in different cities.
After locating a hotel on Google, users are typically taken to a hotel site or online travel agency to complete a booking. Below is an example booking flow for the IHG-owned Ink48 hotel in New York — the highlighted “book” button takes you to the hotel’s website to complete the reservation:

In the new (and perhaps experimental) flow, the user is asked to provide contact and payment details directly to Google. The example below is the Hotel Rouge in Washington DC, which was the property identified in the Tnooz article:

This move is potentially controversial

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