More and more things are including either the Ask toolbar, Google toolbar, or Bing bar. While they are harmless and some people may like them, I never accept any of them.There's a big difference between the Ask Toolbar and the other two mentioned.
As far as Java goes, I would say that yes, you do need it. It doesn't get used often these days but can prove useful.
There used to be but it's just as safe as the others now.
HP6140 Laptop, AMD A8-3500M Quad Core APU, 6GB RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1, IE10 & Windows Mail, Comodo Internet Security 6, MBAM on demand
Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet, Tegra 3 quad core 1.2ghz, 32GB storage, Android 4.2.2, Dolphin and Chrome mobile browsers, TrustGo Mobile Security
E-Machines Desktop, Intel Celeron 420 1.6ghz single core, 2GB RAM, Windows Vista Home Basic SP2, IE9, Comodo Internet Security 6--- All machines behind a NAT router