Mac users have had it pretty good when compared to Windows users, at least on the adware and nuisanceware front. Even Oracle, who has bundled the Ask.com search toolbar with Java for Windows for years, has abstained from infecting its Mac users with adware.
Sadly, though, that era now seems to be an end, with Oracle opting to bundle its most recent versions of Java for Mac with the Ask.com search toolbar.
The unwelcome Ask extension shows up as part of the installer if a Mac user downloads Java 8 Update 40 for the Mac. In my tests on a Mac running that latest release of OS X, the installer added an app to the current browser, Chrome version 41. (In a separate test, I installed Java using the latest version of Safari, where it behaved in a similar fashion.)
Although you can opt not to install the Ask.com toolbar, the installation process is now pointedly designed so that a user who is clicking through will accidentally opt to install the extension on their default browser.
As a search engine, of course, Ask.com sucks. Compared to Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, or even Bing, it offers pretty terrible, low-accuracy search results. That’s why they are willing to pay Oracle to trick users of Java to make it their default search engine.
Java, of course, is a necessary installation for any Mac. That said, if you read each step of the install process carefully, you can avoid installing Ask.com on your system to begin with. If you do accidentally install the toolbar, it’s easy to remove: on Chrome, just remove Ask.com from Manage Search engines, and uninstall the extension On Safari, go to Extensions under preferences and just switch the damn thing off.