When was the last time you received an offer to install a toolbar in a browser on your system, or noticed that a toolbar was suddenly displayed in it?
I install lots of programs every day, and I cannot really remember the last time an installer tried to push a toolbar on to my system.
Frankly, I think that the age of the toolbar is over, and with it all the annoyances that came with it such as not knowing how it landed on the system in first place or how to remove it without breaking the whole damn browser or system.
The main reason for that is not a change of heart of the companies that benefit from these toolbars, but because of changes that companies responsible for popular browsers such as Firefox or Chrome made.
If you take Google Chrome for instance, you may know that the browser refuses to install extensions that are not listed on Google's Chrome Web Store.
While toolbar developers could in theory submit their extensions to the web store, it is unlikely that their products will be accepted in the form they are in currently offered in. Apart from that, Chrome does not support interface modifications by extensions anyway.
Mozilla is in the process of enforcing add-on signatures for Stable and Beta versions of the Firefox web browser, and will have completed the process when Firefox 46 gets released on April 19th, 2016.
Microsoft Edge, Microsoft's new browser for Windows 10 does not support browser extensions or toolbars yet, and it is unlikely that it will add support for toolbars in the future.
This leaves mostly older browsers and forks, something that is likely not lucrative enough to pursue.
Additionally, some software repositories and producers stopped including third-party offers with their products after Google announced that it would step up its game against unwanted software offers by blocking unwanted software offers using Safe Browsing.
The current situation
One of the primary purposes of getting toolbar installations on user systems was to take over the search functionality of the browser. Search is a lucrative business, and switching default search engines over to custom search engines meant that companies could earn a pretty penny for those implementations.
Search engine modifications are still common and it is rather surprising that several antivirus companies offer "secure search" features that ship in form of extensions and take over a browser's search engine functionality.
Those won't go away for some time but it will get increasingly difficult for companies to push these on to user systems without consent or through deceptive means.
Now You: When was the last time you encountered a toolbar?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.