It has long been known that installing Java meant having to keep an eye out for that pesky adware Ask Toolbar, which would be selected by default and, unless you explicitly made it known you didn’t want it, would appear to muck up your browser — assuming you were using Windows. Nothing about that has changed. What has changed is who this toolbar now affects: Mac users in addition to Windows users. Oracle has begun bundling Java for Mac with the Ask Toolbar.
The change comes with the latest version of Java for Mac (Java 8 Update 40), which features the Ask Toolbar software as a selected-by-default installation option. If someone clicks through the installation process without paying much attention, they’ll find a new unwanted guest on their browser the next time they fire it up.
In addition to installing the toolbar, Ask will also change the New Tab page to its own search bar, as well. Anyone who has poked around Ask search knows that it is crapware full of poor search result sprinkled thoroughly with hard-to-identify advertisements, by all appearances existing only to bring in revenue.
Of course, if you install the software it isn’t the end of the world — you’ll just need to uninstall it, which is not difficult for someone who knows what they’re doing (the software also includes instructions on uninstalling).