Yahoo is making headlines again and this time it’s under a positive light. After laying off 2,000 employees and dismissing its new CEO for falsifying his resume, this week Yahoo launched Axis, an HTML5-based browser app and plug-in that delivers search results as images rather than as links.
The media’s response to Axis has ranged from skepticism to delight. The Washington Post declared Yahoo Axis is “little more than a glorified toolbar” for desktop and laptop users and Computerworld describes it as a possible “game changer” for search and the troubled company.
Although it essentially does what other search browsers do, i.e., helps you find stuff on the Web, the most interesting part about Axis is its visual approach to search results. As you type in the search field, the browser brings up thumbnail images of relevant Web sites rather than text. Tap or click the thumbnail and a bottom panel rises, showing the Web page.
When using Axis on a mobile device, this feature becomes much more noticeable when tapping on an image versus enlarging tiny text, making search potentially easier and more visually pleasing.
Axis also lets you connect your search results to all your devices. If you started searching for something on a desktop computer, for example, you can pick up right where you left off on a smartphone or a tablet.
Yahoo has yet to reveal what the advertising options are for Axis, but its emphasis on visualization and mobile-friendly searches suggest some interesting opportunities for marketers. Of course, all of this depends on whether or not users embrace the new browser, which is still up for debate.