Yahoo has taken the mobile browser and improved it dramatically by integrating search and allowing users to view results rapidly without the need to open page after page. While Google allows similar functionality on a desktop what Yahoo has done here is put the results of browsing up top where they should be. And with the simple swipe of a finger a user can scroll through pages after page to see the site they are looking for.
If you take the best parts of Google Instant and the now defunct visual SearchMe bowser and put them together with some added features you get Yahoo’s Axis.
Available on iOS in an iPad and iPhone version as well as a Firefox extension, expect the browser to have broad cross-platform support. One definite plus is the browser makes it much easier to research. When you are ready to search in fact the top 40% of the iPad screen (the device I tested on) is devoted to suggested search terms, latest news and pictures of results pages.
The company has radically rethought the search/browser relationship.
One downside is the Firefox extension on a PC semi-lockup up my browser on install. After I killed the Firefox process tree all was well again. A simple reboot would have also done the trick. Once installed I noticed that all the coolness of the browser such as screen shots of results pages appeared along the bottom – with a search box.
The only downside is this effectively means that in certain instances you won't be able to access clickable areas at the bottom of the screen. I had to use F11 to get a full-screen browser in fact to allow the blogging software I use based on Moveable Type to work properly when adding pictures.
Is Yahoo now relevant again? I can’t answer the question but I am very impressed with this accomplishment and if it gains traction it could position the company very well as a mobile play – not to mention having even more influence in the browser market – beyond just a toolbar play. IBM had a near death experience and came back stronger than ever – ditto for Apple. If Yahoo does return to its former glory – and it is way way too early to even consider this a possibility, it will be a product like Axis which will be responsible.
It is worth pointing out that others think this browser is great as well. Check out what Jolie O’Dell has to say over at VentureBeat.
And now that Chrome has overtaken IE as the dominant browser, it is as good a time as any to add some serious competition into the mix.
Yahoo Axis Local Mode Protects Privacy to Some Degree