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Yahoo's trying to trick you into switching search engines

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Thinking about how much you'd like to try Yahoo's search engine instead of Google or even Bing? Us neither, but you may end up with it anyway if you're not careful during your next Java update. CEO Marissa Meyer told shareholders yesterday that Yahoo has teamed with Oracle on a new partnership aimed at getting users to take its search for a spin. If you're guessing that means it's "tricking careless users into changing default search engines via a pre-ticked installation box," then ding! That's Oracle's go-to method for installing notorious crapware like the Ask.com toolbar in exchange for, we imagine, considerable sums of money.

Yahoo said that "we have definitely made sure that our onboarding process is one that is highly transparent and gives users choice," according to the WSJ. Translated, that means "we're technically asking permission," but forcing users to opt out is still a highly dubious practice. Of course, Google's not exactly innocent either, since Adobe's last Flash install forced many users to opt out if they didn't want the Chrome browser. Yahoo's mired in third place in search with just 12.7 percent of the search market, well behind Bing.

While Java would just change your default search provider and not install an app, it's still a hassle to reset if you didn't want it. Since it's hard to avoid Java (almost 90 percent of US computers have it), pay close attention the next time you update, and un-tick the box if you don't want Yahoo search. If you're willing to try it, why not just go to Yahoo's home page? Or, you could just hit Bing, since a large percentage of Yahoo's search results actually come from Microsoft's engine.

Engadget’s parent company, Verizon, now owns Yahoo. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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