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 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.
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.
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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