Home opinion-and-analysis Fuzzy Logic Conduit: annoying toolbar company lets you create mobile apps

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Are you sick to death of stupid toolbars cluttering up your browsers? One of the companies you can thank for this is Conduit, which late last year launched a way for end-users to create their own mobile apps.


Toolbars. They're one of the scourges of the Internet experience, cluttering up your browser with so many add-on toolbars that your window to the world wide web gets smaller and smaller.

These toolbar companies watch what you do, look where you go and now, through content syndication, are able to place ever more stupid pop-ups onto your screen.

My experiences with Conduit have, over the years, been to eradicate its toolbars - and those of other companies - from the computers of people who have no real idea how these toolbars ended up infesting their computers and browsers.

Naturally, the Conduit people think these toolbars are great, and have branched out into offering all kinds of services for website owners.

Indeed, it has built Conduit into a large business, with some big brands having come on board to use their services.

However, as noted, I personally find all these toolbars and add-ons a massive waste of time, and they are wiped off people's computers without any hesitation, to the delight of end-users who have no idea how to get rid of them - and are sick to death of them.

Type 'conduit spyware' into Google, and you'll see many other people trying to figure out what this damned Conduit thing is, and how to get rid of it forever.

Conduit people - I know I'm disparaging your entire business model, but I personally think you've been helping to stuff up and damage the Internet with stuff that ultimately people want to get off their computers, instead of making the Internet a better place. 

That said, I'm very much in favour of free enterprise and capitalism, and if Conduit can build a multi-million dollar business providing toolbars and content to people - then good luck to them!

Perhaps the Conduit people also know, deep down, that people aren't really enamoured of these awful toolbars, and are growing their business to offer more services.

Its latest service is one that helps end-users build simple apps, essentially taking existing content from a blog and wrapping it into either a native app, or a web app.

Details of this free app creation service are available here, through a CNET story on the topic that Conduit has reprinted at its website, although I'll bet that THIS story isn't one that Conduit will be highlighting on its "media" page anytime soon.

Given my disdain for "free" (or paid, if there are any) toolbars and the companies that sneakily yet legally find ways to trick unsuspecting users into installing them, I'll never, ever use Conduit's free app service. Why would I want to support a company whose products I'm not in favour of?

However, there are certainly people out there that will find the service useful, especially if they want to package their existing blog content into a standalone app for today's variety of mobile devices.

Again - I am one gazillion per cent behind capitalism, free enterprise and the freedom for companies to offer whatever they want to end-users.

I am also behind the freedom for anyone - myself included - to warn people about these damned toolbars and help people get these wastes-of-screen-space and wastes of processing cycles off their computers.

After all, Conduit is rightly in business to make money, some of which is made through information that Conduit's toolbars send back to the Conduit mother ship.

It's just that having this info sucked off your computer - even if anonymised and sent to someone else - might be good for companies, and clearly, very, very profitable, but it certainly isn't always (if ever) best for end-users.

So, if you're looking for an easy way to convert your blog into a mobile app, Conduit's new free service may well appeal, but please - be very aware of what it is you're installing onto your computer, and for the fastest computing and Internet experience, uninstall all those damned toolbars - whether it be from Google, Bing, Conduit, Yahoo or someone else!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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