Sunnyvale, California -- In bold move to regain its long lost glory in the Web navigation business, Yahoo tonight is launching Yahoo Axis, a mobile browser and search tool that adds some new twists to a crowded space.
Working seamlessly between your iPhone, iPad, and plug-ins for the desktop browsers Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari, Yahoo is poised to streamline your searches and connect your experience across devices by giving you access to the same information no matter what device you are accessing it on. Axis offers a number of novel browsing features, and the app will be available for download from the Apple App Store starting later this evening.
Amazingly, the design objective, according to Ethan Batraski, head of product for the Search Innovation Group at Yahoo, is to discard the middle step in the usual Web search process: Enter a query, see the results, go to a page. With Axis, visual previews of sites excludes the traditional step in web searches where you are desperately surfing through sea of links and replaces that experience with an image of the website you will be going to. Some searches can even be done without leaving the page you are on.
Axis replaces the standard search results page with a horizontal, scrollable list of thumbnails. iPad version shown. (Credit: Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET) -- Click to enlarge...
While the company still continues to rely on Microsoft's Bing for algorithmic search, the results offered by Axis will be rejiggered based on Yahoo's own data on user behavior. However, the implication that Axis entirely sidetracks the need to pick from search results is false, but Axis does nonetheless have a much better way of getting you from searching to visiting a Web page. The browser works well. This is an aggressive product for the struggling Yahoo to launch out of its search group.
Here are a couple of other tidbits on Axis:
Overall, Axis users also can shuffle easily between devices: once logged in, searches, recently visited sites and bookmarks are consistent across devices.
There will be no initial monetization of the service, although Yahoo expects to eventually integrate paid listings into the search results.
Nevertheless, the impending Axis browser may not conquer the world, but it is a very strong mobile product with an important new design concept for search. It is also a gutsy business move from Yahoo. It is rather refreshing.