Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yahoo! Axis

Yahoo! has released a standalone mobile browser for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch called Yahoo! Axis. It has also released a plug-in that works with Firefox 7+, Safari v5+, Internet Explorer 9 and all versions of Chrome for the desktop.

On the bottom left of the screen you have a small Yahoo! Axis tool bar where you can enter search queries, access bookmarks, bookmark pages and sign in to your Yahoo! account. 

It changes that way search results are displayed. 

I think this could be very useful in mobile phones and tablets, where clicking small blue links is not necessarily easy with a finger. There is a caveat. Yahoo! Axis downloads previews of you search results, and instead of downloading a few kilobytes of data, it can download something closer to a megabyte, before it starts displaying results. Given data caps and wireless data speeds you have to decide if it is worth it.

There is a second caveat. I have not tried the iPhone version, but The Verge is not too happy with the iPhone version. This photo from The Verge show part of the problem.

On the desktop, it is less interesting. Where the old way of searching results now results in near instantaneous results with todays fast DSL connections, still Yahoo! Axis feels a bit sluggish. The large previews are not necessarily informative than a simple Google search.

The other problem is the search results are not all that good (compare the search results from the image second from the top to the image below).

It really seems like a case of having to choose form over substance. Still it is good to see Yahoo! taking new and innovated efforts at search.

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