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How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

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How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Using the search engine you like best is a preference many internet users don’t take lightly.

But it can also be tricky to configure the browser(s) you use to operate with the search engine you prefer by default each time.

So, if you want to change your default search engine to Google or any other major search engine within a specific web browser, follow the guide below. You’ll realize that changing it is a simple and fast process that greatly impacts your web-browsing experience.

Whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge, here’s how to set your preferred search engines, regardless of your device.

Change Default Search Engine In Google Chrome

Here’s how to change your default search engine in Google Chrome.

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Open the Chrome browser.

Click the three solid dots in the top right corner of the browser window. This is located below where the window’s X button would be on a machine using Windows, or below the down-facing arrow that opens the Tabs menu on a Mac.

If you’re signed into Chrome, it’s located next to your Google profile’s thumbnail.

Screenshot from Google Chrome, February 2023

Select Settings.

Click the Search engine section on the left-hand side of the page to reveal the search engine menu.

Then click the down arrow where it says Search engine used in the address bar to reveal the different options available without manually adding a different search engine not already listed.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Google Chrome, February 2023

Select your default search engine from the list that includes Google, Ecosia, Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.

Note: If you’ve tried to set your search engine, but it doesn’t work, you may have malware. Get help restoring your Chrome settings.

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Add, Edit, Or Remove Other Search Engines

To add, edit, or remove other search engines from the list, click the Manage search engines and site search arrow below the default search engine list.

To Add A Search Engine

Scroll down below the list of default Search engines.

At Other search engines, click Add.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Google Chrome, February 2023

You’ll be prompted to fill out the search engine name, shortcut, and URL.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Google Chrome, February 2023

Filling Out Text Fields To Add A Search Engine In Chrome

The Search engine field should be the label or name of the search engine (i.e., Brave, Yandex, Swisscows, etc.).

The Shortcut field should be the text shortcut you want to use to engage the search engine via your browser bar.

This allows you to enter the keyword in the address bar for quick, easy access. (Of course, you can still just type your search query in the address bar to use the default search engine, too.)

“The URL with %s in place of query” field should include:

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  • the web address for the search engine’s results page.
  • use %s where the query would go.

To find and edit the web address of the results page:

  • Go to the search engine you want to add.
  • Do a search.
  • Copy and paste the web address of the search results page into the URL field. The address for the search results page is different from the website address.
    • For example, if you search for [football], the Google search results URL is “http://www.google.com/search?q=football”.
  • Replace the search term in the URL with %s.
    • For example, if you were using the Google search results URL, your search engine address would be “http://www.google.com/search?q=%s”.

To Set A Default Search Engine, Edit, Or Delete

Click the Manage search engines and site search button right below the Search engine used in the address bar button.

Then, scroll down to the list of search engines and click the three-dot icon on the right of the search engine you want to set to default, edit, or delete.

It will open a little box offering the user to “Make default” or “Delete” the listed search engine we are altering.

There is also a small pencil icon next to the three dots that will allow you to edit the current input, whether that be the search engine name, shortcut, or URL.

Use the pencil icon to edit the current inputs or the three-dot icon to make a search engine the default – or delete it from the list.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Google Chrome, February 2023

Change Default Search Engine In Firefox

Follow these steps to change your default search engine in Firefox.

Open the Firefox browser.

Click the hamburger menu (three solid lines) in the top-right corner of the browser window.

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Select Settings from the dropdown menu.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Firefox, February 2023

Selecting Settings will open a new tab within the same Firefox window.

On the left-side navigation, click on Search with the magnifying glass icon to access the various search-related features within Firefox.

Scroll down to the Default Search Engine section and click the drop-down menu to reveal the six different search engines that can be used as the default for the browser.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Firefox, February 2023

Select the search engine you want to be your default, and it updates immediately (no saving of the settings is needed).

To Add A Search Engine

To add a search engine not available in the above dropdown, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Find more search engines link (below a variety of other customized options, including search bar options, search suggestions, and search shortcuts).

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Firefox, February 2023

Click on Find more search engines, select the add-on(s) you want to add, and click Add to Firefox.

You can search for the search engine you are looking for or browse the extensive list shown by Firefox.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Firefox, February 2023

You will then be asked to give permission to add the add-on to the browser.

Once it has been added, it will show up in the list of available search engines under Default Search Engine.

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To Remove A Search Engine

Scroll below the Search Shortcuts section and click on the search engine you want to remove and highlight.

Then, click the “Remove” button in the bottom right corner of that section.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Firefox, February 2023

Note: If you remove a search engine that you added yourself and change your mind, you’ll have to add it again (the steps are above this section).

If you remove any of the search engines that come with Firefox by default, click Restore Default Search Engines to bring them back.

Change Default Search Engine In Microsoft Edge

Edge, Microsoft’s latest web browser, is a full reboot of its legacy Internet Explorer browser – which the company announced in June 2022 will no longer be fully supported.

Since Microsoft recommends users get Edge and use IE Mode if they want to return to the interface and functionality of Internet Explorer, we will explain how to change your default browser solely to Microsoft’s fully supported browser, Edge – and not to IE.

Here’s how to change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge:

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Open the Microsoft Edge browser.

Go to the search engine website you want to default to (e.g., www.google.com).

Click on the three dots in the top right corner of the browser window under the X button.

Slide down and click Manage Add-ons.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Microsoft Edge, February 2023

Once you’ve clicked on Settings, click Privacy, Search, and Services on the left-side panel.

Then scroll to the bottom of the page where it says Address bar and search. 

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Microsoft Edge, February 2023

Once the Privacy, Search, and Services menu opens, and choose the default search engine from the dropdown menu next to Search engine used in the address bar.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & SafariScreenshot from Microsoft Edge, February 2023

All search engines that have been used in the browser will show up as a possible default option.

If the search engine you want to designate as the default does not show up, search for it in the address bar, then go back and look – it should be an option to choose as default after that.

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Change Default Search Engine In Safari For Desktop

Here’s how to change your default search engine in Safari for desktop computers.

Open the Safari browser and go to the Safari menu in the upper-left corner.

Select Preferences from that dropdown.

Once the Preferences window opens, click the Search button with the magnifying glass icon across the top menu.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Click on the search engine you want to make your default.

Change Default Search Engine In Safari For iPhone

Open Settings on your iPhone.

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Scroll directly down to the Safari button with the logo and an advance arrow.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Within the Setting tab, go under the Search menu and click where it says Search Engine to pick from the default search engine options.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Change Default Search Engine In Android

On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Chrome app.

To the right of the address bar, tap More and then Settings.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Under Basics, tap Search engine.

How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Select the search engine you want to use.

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How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari

Recently visited search engines will be added as your default search engine options.

Conclusion

Regardless of the device, operating system, or browser you’re using, setting and using the default search engine you favor most impacts your results and the types of search queries you use.

It also has an immediate and long-lasting impact on your everyday web experience.

Because of this, knowing how to easily change your default search engine across any device, operating system, and browser is important.

Just like different browsers offer different experiences, so do search engines. And each one leans into different features and characteristics to add value to its users and separate itself from the competition.

Search engines constantly strive to provide the best results and information through the most satisfying user experience.

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These are both crucial for customer satisfaction and loyalty. These factors also separate the best search engines from the not-so-good ones.

Update the browser(s) you use to work better for you using the abovementioned steps. Update your default search engine, and (hopefully) you won’t have to revisit it again anytime soon.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Golubovy/Shutterstock



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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

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1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

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Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

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Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

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  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

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Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

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Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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Featured Image:Ismael Juan/Shutterstock

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