I thought I'd chime-in...
I'm no fan of toolbars. That said, choosing one (and only
one) and using it, and then foresaking all others that one is offered during the course of one's lifetime of Internet usage, probably makes some reasonable sense, just generally. Having more than one toolbar starts to get a little silly... especially considering that each toolbar tends to decrease the vertical size of the active window in Internet Explorer... which is already small enough.
The Google and Yahoo toolbars have probably been around the longest, and are among the most trusted. Of those two, I've always trusted Google's more. Ask's toolbar, despite some of what's been written in this thread, is also basically worthy of trust... as is the Ask.com web site itself (and as are the Google and Yahoo web sites as well... and, again, just in my opinion, Google's more than Yahoo's or Asks's).
Microsoft's relatively newer "Windows Live" toolbar is also worthy of trust... and, to even my
surprise -- ney, astonishment -- that's the one (the only
one) that's I've permitted to "infect" my copy of Internet Explorer... my very first toolbar that I've ever allowed in going on 15 years of worldwide web use! I shake my head in disbelief even as I'm writing it here.
The reason I've finally (only recently) decided to allow the Windows Live toolbar into my world is that I see the handwriting on the wall (and have
seen it, for some years, now) regarding the direction that Microsoft is taking when it comes to its operating system, its heretofore built-into-the-OS apps, and Office (and Office-related) applications. The "Live" paradigm has been Microsoft's goal for years... no more desktop apps... everything online... where Microsoft can eventually implement a pay-as-you-use sort of methodology.
Whether Microsoft is right to do it -- or whether it will ultimately actually succeed (either at all, or at least to the degree that Microsoft obviously hopes) -- is a debate for another time and place. It's beside the point(s) I'm trying to make here. I'm just saying that Micrsoft is clearly intending to blur the line between what's on one's desktop (and in one's local machine), and what's online via the Internet. That's obvious, if nothing else, with Microsoft's elimination in Windows 7 of common utilities previously built-in to the OS which, commencing with Windows 7, are left out of the OS and are only available (gratefully, still free) via download from the Windows Live web site... and which downloadable utilities each contain a strong default ability to seriously blur the line between the desktop and the web.
So I've allowed the Windows Live toolbar into my life because I learned more than twenty years ago (I've been in IT for 32 years, now) not to try to end-run whatever company owns the desktop (market). No one hates Microsoft more than I do; but it owns the desktop... despite the best-laid plans of Apple... and the Linux community... and the open-source world (the latter two of which I am a huge fan). None of that will change anytime soon... quite possibly ever... and wishing won't make it otherwise.
I don't hope Microsoft will ever be able to take Office off my hard drive and replace it with a solely online app. But I do see the inherent advantages of a tightly-knit -- perhaps even virtually seamless -- eventual desktop/online inegration at the Office level. I just don't want it to cost extra... or, if it does, I want said extra cost to be included in the one-time purchase price of the software.
Regardless how it's finally done, desktop/web integration and line blurring (or even elimination) is the inescapable wave of the future... and my allowing onto my system the Windows Live toolbar is one of the first steps toward my personal acceptance and embracing of it... as my three decades of experience tells me is inevitable, whether or not I like it.
So, given what I wrote earlier herein about the silliness of more than one toolbar in one's copy of IE, there's simply no room for the Ask.com toolbar in mine. Nor the Google toolbar. Nor the Yahoo toolbar.
Yet, I do
want to somehow help Comodo derive as much revenue as it can from as many places as it can... including from its OEMing of Ask.com's technology if that's, in fact, the choice that Comodo has made (with the wisdom
of said choice being yet another discussion for yet another day).
In my considerable research of search engines, I have found that Google (like it or not for those who not Google fans) reigns supreme... in pretty much all areas that matter. No other search engine can touch it... including Ask.com's search engine... or Yahoo's... or AltaVista (which, incidentally, was the first
one I ever used, back when it was pretty much the only game in town)... or any other.
That said, Ask.com has its place (albeit only occasionally) in my life. In short, Ask.com's input interface responds better to searches posed in the form of a question (a true and actual question... with a question mark at the end of it, and everything) than any other search engine out there.
To get the biggest bang out of Google, on the other hand, one needs to know a little bit about plus and minus signs, and quotation marks, and the word "OR" (only in capital letters, mind you); and one needs to be good at visualizing the actual words -- the actual strings of text -- which are likely to be on the web page(s) which one seeks.
Most people don't really know how to use
Google... at least correctly
. They don't know about its advanced operators and extraordinarily effective (when used properly) methods of narrowing-down search results, and really drilling down to what what one truly seeks in one's search. If one takes the time to go read-up on how to most correctly, efficiently and effectively use Google on such as the http://www.googleguide.com
web site, one can find absolutely anything, absolutely anywhere... and I mean fast
. I routinely dazzle effectively entire rooms full of people with my ability to make the most difficult-to-find (at least for those aforementioned rooms full of people) things appear right on the first (or, at worst, the second) page of Google search results because I bothered, long ago, to study-up at the Google Guide web site; and because I have printed-out, and have hanging on my wall on either side of my monitor, Google Guide's various cheat sheets and quick references. And bygod I use
There is no equivalent to this with any other search engine web site... including (and perhaps especially) the Ask.com web site.
But, boy-oh-boy, whenever my wife (who, godloveher, is only one notch above an Internet newbie) wants to search for something by posing her search in the form of an honest-to-goodness actual question (question mark and all), the Ask.com web site has no rival... and is perfect
for her. Yes, of course I'm teaching her the intracacies of the proper usage of Google, a la what she's slowly learning from the Google Guide web site. But until she masters that (or even after, whenever she wants to just pose the search as a true question), the Ask.com web site is actually quite nice for her. I even use it myself now and then whenever I think that maybe I'll find what I'm looking for by putting it in the form of an actual question... question mark and all... such as, for example, when I hope to find the answer on a question-and-answer kind of web site... just to give but one example.
Now that I know that Comodo's got a customized, OEMed Ask.com interface which somehow helps Comodo whenever it's used, I, personally (and once I explained it to my wife, she agreed) want to do all my Ask.com searches (however few they may be) through it.
But there's nowayinhell that those Ask.com searches are going to be via the Ask.com toolbar in either of our copies of IE. No way. Not a chance. Ever. Period. As my now-grown daughter used to say: Ick.In fact, I wish Comodo
(and, as long as I'm on the soapbox, the maker of the unrelated CCleaner, too... and a whole buch of other
vendors, as well) wouldn't even include the Ask.com
(or any other
vendor's, for that matter) toolbar in its software installers
...or, if it absolutely insists
on so doing, that it would uncheck the option be default so that the end-user must actually and intentionally opt for
the toolbar during installation instead of uncareful end-users being surprised by its unexpected presence afterward... as is the situation now. I expect
low-life game and screensaver makers to try to sneak toolbars onto my system during installation, but I think that sort of thing is beneath the likes of Comodo... or so is that just my opinion.
And we don't want to make Ask.com (or any other
search engine) our homepages, as suggested up near this thread's beginning. That's just unacceptable (at least to us), no matter what
search engine we're talking about!
Nor do we want to make Ask.com the default search in the little IE search box to the right of the IE "Address:" bar, either. That's Google's exclusive domain on our machines... as, in our opinion, it should
be since Google's the hands-down best
search engine on the planet... bar none.
Of course, we can type a search into the IE search box, and then use the drop-down selector thingy to choose Ask.com as the place to actually execute it... but that's a lot of clicking. Having an Ask.com button (such as would be the case with the Ask.com toolbar) right on IE's native toolbar is best (but without also having the entire Ask.com toolbar installed).
How to do this, you ask?
I've accomplished it by using an obscure little IE toolbar button making utility that was originally written for use with IE4 thru IE6; but which, as it turns out, works just fine with both IE7 and IE8, to wit: PJSoft's IE Toolbar Button Maker http://home.drenik.net/pjsoft/download/ieaddtoolbtn.exe
Sorry for the direct download link, but don't worry... there's no adware/spyware or virus in it. It's safe. And the direct download link is given because the utility's maker doesn't even have a web page describing it anymore. I think he considers it a dead product. Plus, even if you could
get hold of its maker, his English isn't all that great.
So, the utility is virtually unsupported. Its interface is just a few notches above "sucks" and is not terribly intuitive or easy to use. And, worse, if you try to use the little utility to edit buttons not created by it, you can even goof-up IE a little.
But by-golly, it sure works, once you get the hang of it, for quickly and easily creating additional native IE toolbar buttons. I first successfully used it (after admittedly fiddling with it a bit to finally figure out precisely how) long ago -- back on IE5, as I recall -- to put little Google and Ask.com buttons (along with a blank browser screen button, and a couple of others) right onto the native IE7 (and now, in my case, the native IE8) toolbars on both mine and my wife's notebooks. (Remember, now: I'm talking about added buttons, here... on IE's native toolbar... not entire Google or Yahoo or Ask.com toolbars and all of their various added buttons.)
Now that I know that Comodo has its own version of Ask.com; and now that I've decided to use it (and not the direct Ask.com interface) whenever I want to use Ask.com (which isn't often, mind you... but I'm just sayin'), I'm going to use the aforementioned little utility to edit our Ask.com native IE toolbar buttons so that they now take us to Comodo's OEMed version of Ask.com.
And I've made this posting here in the hope that others -- especially those who, like me, wouldn't install the Ask.com (or Google's, or Yahoo's) toolbar even with guns to our heads -- will do the same so that we can still help-out Comodo as much as we're willing by going ahead and using its Ask.com interface whenever we bother to use Ask.com at all... but without also installing the Ask.com toolbar.
For me, that's the perfect compromise: I have a Comodo/Ask.com button on the IE native toolbar, but without installing the Ask.com toolbar itself. Perfect.
Hope that helps.