Thursday, July 23, 2015

Java update may change your default search engine in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer to Yahoo.

If you think your default search engine has changed without you realising it, there's a good chance it has.

For some less technical clients I've set up their default search to use one of the options available on the Fun With Search page I created. These search definitions display an icon which is a white J on a blue background indicating JustLocal. If the icon changes the user knows their search engine default has been changed. These definitions link direct to the search engine.

Last year I read Yahoo had done a deal with Firefox in the USA to be the default search engine, so updating Firefox will change the default search engine if you're in the USA. I'm not sure if this applies to Australia as well.

In the following article we see Yahoo and Oracle have done a deal so that when you update Java, the default search engine gets changed. I'm not a fan of this strategy as it creates confusion for the user. In effect it's a bit rude of one piece of software to change the defaults of another, but I suppose that's business.

The article also mentions Yahoo is angling to be the default search engine for Apple Safari later in the year.

With malware, scammers and a whole range of software targeting the default search engine for browsers, one of the most common observations I make with users' computers is their browser search has been hijacked without their knowledge. The legitimate companies are using the same tactics to gain market share which is a pity. This really isn't the type of behaviour you should see from the industry leaders. I suppose the chase for the mighty dollar often is in conflict with the users' own interests.

If you haven't lately, perhaps now is a good time to check the default search engine you're using. A good test is to type in the word 'test' (without the quotes) into the address or search area and see which company displays the search results. Look carefully as some of the nefarious ones try to look like the well known search companies, but there clues you can see. I think many people will be quite surprised.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

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