After a consistent stream of bad news from Yahoo's executive offices, the fading giant search company has finally launched a big new development that takes on its core business challenge: staying relevant. The company on Thursday launched its own Web browser called Yahoo Axis.
Axis is centered around searching, bookmarking, and content syncing across multiple devices. While Yahoo says Axis is both a desktop and mobile browser, it is really just a mobile browser for the iPad and iPhone, and a plug-in for Safari/Chrome/IE/Firefox which amounts to a little more than a "next-gen Yahoo Toolbar."
With that being said, Yahoo in 2012 has moved toward adopting a "mobile first" strategy, and third-party browser share in the mobile realm is still up for grabs, so concentrating on its mobile application is a solid maneuver.
The mobile browser changes a few things about the standard browsing experience by shifting the locations of tools away from their usual habitats. For example, browser tabs are now located in the lower left hand corner of the screen, where nearly every other browser puts them as a button in the upper right. Like other browsers, the top bar includes the URL/search field, back and forward arrows, a "share" button, a bookmark button, and the bookmarks tab. By touching the bottom of this bar and pulling down, the user can expand the search field to perform thumbnail searches or check out trending search topics and scroll through a series of suggested links.
It's worth noting that the "share" button lets users by default send links to their Yahoo email or Pinterest. There's no messing about with Twitter and Facebook straight out of the gate with this browser. Yahoo Axis is clearly the first browser to have chosen default integration with Pinterest, the one-and-a-half billion dollar social network.
When users are logged into their Yahoo ID, they are presented with a customized start page similar to Chrome's which can be loaded with favorite sites, articles to "read later," and links that are open on other devices. The idea is to tie search into the browsing experience across all devices, sort of like Google has done with Android and Chrome, but Yahoo has applied it to iOS and ostensibly all of the popular desktop browsers including Chrome.
"Starting today, search and browsing will never be the same and we’re excited to offer you a better way. Think of this as a sneak peek of what’s to come; we’re planning for Yahoo! Axis in more markets, on mobile devices, and with more killer features in the coming future," the Yahoo Search Team blog said on Thursday.