Once regarded as one of the major search engines out there, Yahoo! has since been overtaken by both Google and recently Bing due to a number of poor business decisions and failing to innovate. And that’s before you get into the controversy the company has faced recently. Now it’s decided to enter the web browser market (incredibly late actually) with its new product, Axis.
Available as a mobile browser on iPad and iPhone and as a plug-in for the desktop browsers, IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, the name doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but after testing it out, it turns out that it’s actually quite good.
Appearing at the bottom left-hand corner of your browser, the plug-in certainly provides a better way of finding and selecting sites. When you enter in a search term, you don’t get a results page. Instead, you get a list of thumbnail suggestions which you can scroll through left to right. It sounds basic, but it works really well as it’s integrated into the browser. Image searching works the same way with the thumbnail interface and there’s also Pinterest integration and sharing.
From a visual standpoint, it’s quite nice to look at so it fits into the browser interface quite well. When you stop using it, it hides away at the corner of the screen so it doesn’t distract you from whatever you’re looking at online. Whether it will help in pulling an audience away from Google or Bing remains to be seen, but Yahoo! needed to create a product that focuses on the user experience instead.
We weren’t able to test out the iPhone or iPad versions as it’s (for now) was unavailable to download over here, but reports from it are positive. That can only be a good thing as the iPhone badly needs an alternative to the iPhone’s default browser, Safari. Also, with news that Chrome is thinking of releasing an iPhone version of its browser later this year, Apple users could do with more browser alternatives.
However, despite the strength of their product, Yahoo!’s rush to release it meant that it forgot to include their terms of service and had to temporarily disable its Chrome extension after a developer exposed a security flaw. Axis has reappeared on Chrome with the problem fixed and the terms of service has now been loaded up onto their site.