Oracle starts pushing Yahoo instead of Ask Toolbar with Java installations

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 25, 2015

When it comes to individual software programs spreading potentially unwanted programs (PUP), it is Adobe Flash and Oracle's Java that need to be mentioned in this regard in particular due to the immense reach both products have.

Adobe's been spreading McAfee Security Scan Plus with Flash downloads while Oracle had an agreement with Ask to spread the company's toolbar to user systems.

The latter appears a thing of the past though as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Oracle will soon replace the Ask Toolbar offer included in new Java installations and upgrades with Yahoo offers.

Yahoo's Chief Executive Marissa Mayer announced the deal on the company's shareholder conference according to the magazine.

Users who install Java anew or run upgrades on their systems will be "prompted to make Yahoo their browser's default search engine and home page".

The offer is opt-out which means that any user not paying attention to the installation dialog will end up with Yahoo being installed as the homepage and search engine in browsers installed on the system.

Java's installer checks for installed browsers and modifies the prompt accordingly. For instance, if you only have Internet Explorer installed only Microsoft's browser will be listed while Chrome may be listed as well if it is installed on the machine.

  1. Google Chrome: Yahoo will be set as the new homepage, search provider and new tab page.
  2. Internet Explorer: Yahoo will be set as the new homepage and search provider.

It appears that Firefox is exempt from the offer. While it is not clear why that is the case, the most likely explanation is that Yahoo has a deal in place with Mozilla already that deploys Yahoo Search on US Firefox installations as the default search engine.

The offer appears to be only integrated in the online installer that Oracle pushes out by default. Offline installers, which you find listed on this page on the Java website, appear clean at this point in time. It is unclear if the offer is limited geographically, for instance US-only, or worldwide.

Oracle did not comment on the deal and why it switched from offering the Ask Toolbar to Java downloaders to Yahoo's offer instead. While it may be tempting to assume that this has something to do with Microsoft classifying the Ask Toolbar as a threat, it could very well have other reasons, for instance that Yahoo's offer was better financially or that the constant spreading of Ask's Toolbar has saturated the market and lowered Oracle's income in the process.

End users who install Java on their computer systems are as affected as before by the third-party offer. While it will "only" replace homepage, search engine and tab page in the browser and not install add-ons on top of that, it is still highly problematic due to the opt-in nature of the offer and the time it takes to undo those changes if unwanted.

Oracle starts pushing Yahoo instead of Ask Toolbar with Java installations
Article Name
Oracle starts pushing Yahoo instead of Ask Toolbar with Java installations
Oracle has started to include Yahoo offers instead of the Ask Toolbar in Java installers.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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