Good news: Avira to remove Searchfree Toolbar from its products

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 20, 2013

Toolbars are a big business. Initially designed to add functionality to web browsers, most that are produced and distributed nowadays have only one goal: generate revenue, usually in the form of custom search engines that users are redirected to when they want to search on the Internet.

Software companies who want to generate extra revenue include toolbar offers to the setup of their software to generate money from each toolbar installation. That's the core reason why most of these offers are opt-out, and not opt-in.

Security company Avira has included a toolbar in its products for some time now. The toolbar, a custom version of the Ask Toolbar, provided users with access to security features such as protected search and WebGuard, a proxy of sorts that checks data before it is processed by the web browser.

avira searchfree

Avira Browser Safety

Avira plans to replace the browser toolbar with a browser extension. Avira Browser Safety is a web browser add-on that integrates better in the Internet browser. Instead of displaying a horizontal toolbar at all times, it behaves just like any other extension you may run in the browser, so that you only interact with it when necessary and that it is out of the way all the other time.

The product is currently in beta and only available for Google Chrome. Avira announced that it will be made available for other browsers as well, without naming those other browsers. It is very likely that it will be made available for Firefox though.

avira browser safety

According to the beta page, the extension will match what the toolbar offered including access to safe search and browsing, and the company's do not track me protection.

The extension has been built from scratch by Avira, while the do not track me capabilities are provided by Abine.

Users who are interested in the new product can apply for testing opportunities. An Avira account is required to do so though.

Closing Words

The change moves the functionality to the background which most users will likely welcome as it frees up space for the display of websites in the browser. It is likely that the cooperation with Ask in regards to search is still in place, but we won't know for sure until the final product gets released by Avira.


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  1. Neal said on September 30, 2013 at 2:36 am

    A little too late, the other free AVs have comparable or better protection without the nag.

  2. Bamit said on September 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I am really disappointed with Avira. I’ve been a premium user for several years now, but no longer. When they started to install it with there free product I was very surprised that they would associate with a company that has had such a questionable past, but it did not bother me much because I had the paid version.

    I was still running Avira 2012 on a few of my computers because I still had another year left on the subscriptions in them.

    Lately though, Pop-Ups had been harassing the hell out of me about upgrading to the “infected” 2013 crap-ware version.

    As a result I decided to search and see if Avira GmbH had come around and see if they finally removed any 3rd party crap-ware from their installation.

    I looked and found (apnic.dll / apnstub.exe / apntoolbarinstaller.exe) Still infecting systems.

    I could see that they had not. Too bad because at one time I thought Avira to be better then the other giants like McAfee and Norton that had fallen.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that even if you choose NOT to install the ask toolbar, in addition to installing (apnic.dll / apnstub.exe / apntoolbarinstaller.exe) on your system, it also adds Ask·com related entries in your system registry and sends back to Ask·com Geo-location based tracking data and other identifiable information.

    I wonder how much money Avira is making from IAC for this information?

    Bye Bye Avira….

  3. b003 said on September 21, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I try not to use any soft that would bundle toolbars “malware” after I got that conduit crap.

  4. city_zen said on September 21, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Too little, too late. I switched for Avast and never looked back …

  5. Oldphart said on September 21, 2013 at 1:16 am

    That ask toolbar is at best crapware. We’ve been blocking it and it’s relatives in our internet proxy for several years now.

  6. Fred B said on September 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Just did AvIra. Used custom install & got no toolbar. Do not have pop-up ads.

  7. jasray said on September 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    And I actually liked Avira until the pop-up started to annoy the heck out of me–no problems with declining extras.

    Such a dilemma with antivirus and financial expenditures and the possibility of infection that leads to further time and money loss. All the negative time being spent by brilliant minds to make the Internet a nightmare when the original idea was the Impossible Dream.

    What a discouraging development.

    1. Poltiser said on September 21, 2013 at 7:09 am

      That is a reason I have switched back to Bitdefender. I had long experience with AV and most of the time very positive. Fast and not disturbing but… nothing is forever. ;-)

  8. giedrius said on September 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    The question is if Avira would try to make money from the extension. If it will show ads, it is not better than toolbar.
    I would not use any AV platform that tries to provide “custom safe search”. It is just dishonest in most of the cases

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