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Yahoo! launches its own browser Axis

By Rohit Ramesh on Sunday 27th of May 2012

Yahoo! has launched its own browser named Axis. It comes with a refreshed design and functionality, displaying search results as thumbnails to scan through.

After a prolonged interval of internal organizational chaos and speculations of sell-out to Microsoft, Yahoo! finally has a reason to cheer and chant its own name. One of the older search engines still alive has launched its own browser by the name Axis, and all I can say from its first glance is this: Surprisingly refreshing!

Axis has been rolled out for iPad and iPhone, but for desktop PCs there are only plugins available for Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari browsers. This clearly suggests that the project is still in beta phase, but the work that has been done till now looks really impressive.

Coming to the browser, the thing which it seeks to revamp is search. As Ethan Batraski, head of product for the Search Innovation Group at Yahoo! explains,” The design goal is to eliminate the middle step in the usual Web search process: Enter a query, see the results, go to a page.” As you type in your query and hit enter, Axis shows you thumbnails of search results which are actual screenshots of the pages. These thumbnails appear on the top in a horizontal fashion. After you click on one of the search results, the page opens up on the entire screen. Going back to the search results is as simple as a swipe down of the already opened page, which will show you the thumbnails again.

The overall feel is intuitive and comfortable. The browser provides tabs to mark a page as favourite, and also share it through email or twitter. Yahoo’s trademark ‘trending searches’ option is also available on top. The design of the browser makes search faster and hassle-free. Also, it seems to favour phones and tablet users considering that most of the functions are swipe and drop – a shot in the right direction by the company that has sensed the increased mobile usage by people.

Great, Yahoo! has finally asserted its declining position as a search engine, and also utilized its experience of the toolbar it sells with Internet Explorer. But in order to keep the user experience at the top, it has sacrificed Yahoo ads that used to come up along with search results. According to, Yahoo’s search revenues went up 8% in Q1 this year. But no search ads means no search revenue. I think this is a deliberate step by the company, whose sole objective right now is to market the product in the best way possible. Once Axis has its hold in the market (a distant but probable feat), search ads can eventually be placed in.

Its a great refresh, an intentional departure from the old search engine design brought in by Google more than a decade ago. Go and grab it for yourself, it’s worth giving a try! Or watch a preview here. Do comment below to tell us how you found the new browser.


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