Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

Desperate tactics from the Purple Palace

At the annual Yahoo! shareholder's meeting, CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled her new strategy for making the struggling web portal popular again by buying its way into Oracle's Java upgrade software.

Begining with the next Java update, Yahoo! will replace the current invitation to make Ask your default search engine. Instead, you'll be asked if you want to make Yahoo! the homepage and default search engine for Chrome and Internet Explorer, and have the firm's site load every time a new tab is opened in Chrome. (Yahoo! is already the default search engine for Firefox.)

As with the Ask offer, the checkbox to allow these settings changes arrives pre-ticked, so if a careless user simply clicks on "Next," the changes will be made automatically. Changing the browser settings back is likely to be a pain, based on past experience.

"We have definitely made sure that our onboarding process is one that is highly transparent and gives users choice," a Yahoo! spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

While the move will undoubtedly expose a lot of people to Yahoo!'s site, it might annoy more people than it wins over. If Reg readers are anything to go by, the update adverts are intensely aggravating, in part because they are rather effective at getting unwanted stuff onto computers.

Neither Yahoo! nor Oracle were willing to discuss the financial terms of the Java advertising deal but it's likely to have cost Mayer's firm a pretty penny. The deal shows that Yahoo! is still searching for ways to boost traffic to its site to arrest its falling viewership and earnings.

The deal is also a huge loss to Ask. The search engine, owned by InterActiveCorp, has 0.26 per cent of the current search market. Without the boost in traffic it gets from the Java deal, that figure is sure to fall further. ®


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