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Follow-up from a prior post on the subject, Rowan Trollope, Symantec senior veep posted something on the subject:

Safe Search update

I’ve seen the negative feedback here in the forum regarding Norton Safe Search, and have been carefully listening over the last couple weeks, and working with my team on the best course of action.

While we believe Safe Search is a valuable feature, many of you were surprised by the addition of the search box to the Norton toolbar, and expressed concern over not being given the choice of whether or not to install it.

Given your response, we’ve taken immediate action. Moving forward, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 will now ship with the search box disabled by default. Norton Safe Web site ratings will still be available to users. We are starting this process immediately and will be rolling out updates over the next few weeks.

Also, I want to clearly convey that this is not an Ask toolbar. It is part of the Norton browser integration and it is easily disabled. Also, to be clear, there is no Ask code running on your computer – it is all Norton code. There is no separate component to uninstall or remove. Once disabled, it is completely shut off and inactive. When enabled, the only information we are sending to is the actual search query.

Customers who already have the search box enabled will not be affected, but still have the option to disable it manually via the Norton Toolbar menu.

My team and I have worked very hard to deliver security products with superior speed and performance, and I want every aspect of our customers’ experience to be positive. The last thing we want to do is cause any frustration with our loyal, technical users.

We want our customers to have an outstanding user experience and are revisiting Safe Search to determine how we might deliver this feature in a more positive way in the future. There are customers who are currently using and benefiting from this feature and ultimately, we do want to offer this, but make sure we do it in the right way.

Thanks, as always, for your candid feedback here in the forums.

Rowan Trollope
Senior Vice President

Alex Eckelberry
(Via Donna)