Last week, Yahoo! officially released its new “visually enhanced” web browser for desktops and iOS devices. Known as Axis, the browser is an innovative spin on visual searches that aims to streamline the searching experience by effectively eliminating the concept of a ‘results’ page.
Yahoo!’s demo video shows why Axis’ technology could be the key to getting consumers to return to using the company’s search engine, which has lost a huge amount of market share since its heyday in the time before Google’s rise to the pinnacle of the search mountain. The idea takes hold of trends in social and mobile computing that offer users distinct value, such as connecting search history across multiple devices and offering a much richer experience on mobile platforms. Plus, the thing just looks great.
The initial reception has been mixed, with the main theme being that Axis is simply great on mobile devices, and not-so-great on desktops. With smart devices and mobile applications expected to reach its peak by 2015, Yahoo! is capitalizing on the trend. On an iPhone, and especially on an iPad, the integrated search feature feels intuitive, and being able to move seamlessly through visual search results without having to hit a ‘back’ button is long overdue. On the way is a version for Android platforms which can be expected to offer solid functionality similar to that found on the iOS version, meaning that the entire smartphone market will have the chance to give Axis a spin. Apple and Google apparently aren’t too worried about the competition as of yet, but that may change in time.
Amidst the excitement that Axis is generating, the browser may potentially affect Yahoo!’s business, as it eliminates a huge amount of the search advertising revenue that has already been suffering in recent years. If it’s successful, Axis could begin a revolution in search technology, fueled by current user preferences bringing Yahoo! to the forefront of contextual and experiential computing.