Mozilla released Firefox 98.0.1 on March 14, 2022. This is a minor release that comes a week after Firefox 98. Firefox 98.0.1 removes Yandex and Mail.ru search engines from the web browser in some regions.
When Mozilla released Firefox 98, it alluded to the removal of search engine providers in Firefox, but didn’t mention any by name or provide more detail than that it didn’t “receive formal authorization” to integrate search engines not mentioned in Firefox.
Firefox 98.0.1 provides details, but it’s still unclear which search engines were affected in Firefox 98.0.
Mozilla notes in the official release notes:
Yandex and Mail.ru have been removed as optional search providers in Firefox’s drop-down search menu.
Search engines were available as default providers in some regions, including Russia and Turkey. Mozilla removed them from the list of search engines that Firefox users could switch to by default in the web browser. The release removed providers from Firefox installations in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.
Mozilla replaced the search engine, if it was the default engine, with Google Search. Google search queries use the Firefox tag by default.
Mozilla further points out that search engines have also been removed from custom versions of Firefox that partners may have distributed in certain regions.
If you previously installed a customized version of Firefox with Yandex or Mail.ru, offered through partner distribution channels, this version removes those customizations, including add-ons and bookmarks by default. If so, your browser will revert to default settings, as offered by Mozilla. All other versions of Firefox are unaffected by the change.
No explanation is provided for the change in the release notes. Firefox users can add removed search engines to the browser. One of the easiest ways to do this is:
- Select Firefox Menu > More Tools > Customize Toolbar.
- Drag and drop the search field into the Firefox address bar.
- Visit the search engine you want to add, for example, https://www.yandex.com/
- The search box displays a plus symbol on its icon, indicating that it has detected a search engine that you can add to Firefox.
- Left-click on the icon, then on the Yandex icon, which is also highlighted with a plus icon.
The search engine has been added to Firefox and you can make it the default engine or use it only occasionally. Search engines are managed by loading about:preferences#search into the Firefox address bar.
Details are still unclear. What kind of agreement did Mozilla want search engines to sign to be included in Firefox? Firefox users who are affected by this can add search engines back to the browser.
Now you: what do you think of all this?