I recently wrote about whether Ask.com toolbar is a malware. Discussions on Facebook and the Mauritius Internet Users mail list triggered how ask.com happens to be the 10th most visited website in Mauritius. One possible explanation is that Ask.com toolbar is selected by default in partner applications like Oracle Java RE, Nero suite etc. There are also toolbar variants like iMesh and iLivid that forward all web searches to ask.com.

Let's have a look at the practice of auto-selecting unwanted features...

While I still have a Windows 8.1 test environment, I thought of playing around. I tried the Skype app that comes bundled and I didn't like it.

windows-8-skype-app

I downloaded the Skype installer and launched it. To proceed further I need to accept Skype's Terms of Use and Skype's Privacy Policy.

The first thing that caught my attention was the auto-selection of click-to-call. I am not a heavy user of Skype and I do not know much about the features. I read click-to-call is a feature that allows one to make phone calls (to mobile or land lines) through the Skype software. Naturally, this won't come for free; then why enable it by default. For my uses, this is an unwanted feature. I do not know if folks in Mauritius make use of the click-to-call feature.

Skype click-to-call

I un-checked and clicked continue. Skype auto-selects Bing.com as my default search provider. Now, I know Skype is owned by Microsoft but let's see; when I installed Windows 8.1 it already came with Bing.com as default search engine. Say, I changed that to Google.com, surely because I'd prefer the latter. Then why should Microsoft product select Bing.com again. This search provider is changed throughout browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

I do not know whether Skype performs better when the search provider is Bing.com :-)

Skype click-to-call

At this point I must also consent to the Microsoft Service Agreement and its Privacy Policy.

Oh. If only we could be spared by the auto-selection of features and apps.