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Yes, this is going to be a bit of a tech rant. Leave now if you're not in the mood.
Cranky mode on
Last week, I like many of you, received a windows system tray message notifying us that there was an upgrade available for Java.
And like many of you, I launched the installer and started to go through the process of getting the latest and greatest version of Java.
But then I stopped. After merrily clicking NEXT at all the standard screens this one popped up.
I could have clicked NEXT again, but that would have been a mistake.
Sun, through this Java upgrade process, was about to install the Yahoo! Toolbar on my system, plugging it into my browsers and asking me to use Yahoo! search.
Yes, there is a checkbox indicating that I want to install the toolbar, but it is pre-checked! Sun assumed that I'd want the toolbar. I don't. I didn't ask for it (I did want a Java update though), and I'm happy with my own browser configuration. I've spent a lot of time setting it up the way I want and I don't need some faceless organization messing with it.
Browser Toolbars are good, aren't they?
Perhaps for some, but I've never met one that enhanced my experience. I'm not going to go into all the details on why these toolbars are a bad idea; others have already done that:
No, my beef is that these reputable companies feel the need to insert these unrelated products into their installation routines.
Really, what does Sun and Java have to do with Yahoo! advertising and search? From an end user's perspective, very little. From a corporate perspective, a lot. Advertising and eyeballs. They want mine. I'd prefer to keep them under my control, thank you.
But my less-than-patient friends have just kept clicking NEXT to get Java installed. And now they have the Yahoo! toolbar taking up real estate on their browser. And directing searches to Yahoo! And who knows what else.
And now I (and perhaps you) will have a friend-support call in the near future, as browsers slow down, and perhaps malware finds a backdoor in through the next toolbar installed.
My call? Browser Toolbars are so 1990's. Let's leave them there and move on. What do you think?