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.
Avatar FX6327X Desktop, AMD FX-6300 6 core CPU, Radeon R9-270X graphics, 8GB RAM, Windows 8.1 64 bit, Bitdefender Free antivirus, MBAM on demand
HP6140 Laptop, AMD A8-3500M Quad Core APU, 6GB RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1, Bitdefender Free, MBAM
Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet, Qualcomm Snapdragon quad core 1.5ghz, 32GB storage, Android 4.4.4, Dolphin browser, TrustGo Mobile Security All machines behind a NAT router