I have only two toolbars on my home system:  the Google Toolbar and a beta of Dealio that I’ve been playing with.

Google gives me pop-up blocking and Autofill.  Dealio helps me when I’m shopping for electronics.

That’s it.  The other day, I downloaded the MSN toolbar, and it actually looked pretty cool.  But I’m a Google acolyte, and I stick with that.  – Start/Control Panel/Add/Remove/MSN Toolbar –

Of course, you could install all the toolbars you want, and then unselect the ones you don’t need right away.  That’s what I do with Dealio — I don’t need it all the time, just when I’m shopping online.

But it’s not the healthiest thing in the world to have too much crap on your system, is it…

The only other one I might consider would be SideStep, but it’s not like I travel so much that I really need that.    At work, I do have the Developer Toolbar Beta which is nice for HTML editing and stuff, but I never use it, it’s unselected and I only have it there because I might “one day” need it (or more realistically, blog on it).

Brian Smith, a former WhenU employee, thinks that the problem is related to toolbars being associated with spyware (link): 

“The problem with these new shopping toolbars is that in my mind, they are readily associated with Adware/Spyware. Most people have multiple spyware blockers on their computers and when you download the Dealio, SquareTrade, ActiveShopper, or NexTag toolbar (or when you run a scan) you’re told that it’s potentially a threat. Does the Dealio toolbar actually do sinister things like keystroke logging? No. Does it give you pop ups? No. But that’s no longer the point. It’s still a downloadable application which, in the mind of the consumer, could be doing sinister things. I think that people are now hyper-sensitive to spyware and take few chances. I trust Yahoo! I trust Google. I trust SideStep. I trust Southest Airlines [maker of DING!]. I probably trust these companies a LOT more than I should. Google, for one, tracks a LOT of information.”

Yes and no.  One big question is: Who in the heck actually wants all this clutter?   What do you really need? I love my browser to be pure and pristine.   

So I’m curious, what are the toolbars you think are really needed?  What is your must-have? Are toolbars toast?

Alex Eckelberry
(Thanks Ben)