firefox 8Mozilla has renewed an agreement that will keep Google as the default search engine on its Firefox web browser.

The agreement replaces a similar default search deal between the two companies, which ended in late November. As part of the new three-year deal, Google will pay open-source development organization Mozilla for its default search engine placement in Firefox. Mozilla plans to announce the renewal later today, according to All Things D.

The renewal is especially important for Mozilla because the company is a non-profit organization that relies on the revenue generated from the Google default search deal. In 2010, Google contributed 84 percent of Mozilla’s $123 million total revenue.

Although Google has its own Chrome web browser, there are plenty of reasons why the company would want to renew its deal with Mozilla.

Chrome and Firefox web browsers account for about 50 percent of all browser usage in the world — meaning half of all people using a web browser encounter Google as their default search engine. Since half of that browser usage comes from Firefox, a competitor (like Microsoft’s Bing search engine) could gain lots of traction against Google Search and Chrome if it were to sign that exclusive agreement.

Update: Mozilla sent VentureBeat the following statement about the default search agreement with Google:

“We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years… The specific terms of this commercial agreement are subject to traditional confidentiality requirements, and we’re not at liberty to disclose them.”


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