Yahoo Axis Web Browser Thats Not A Browser Maybe

< sigh >…  Once again, Yahoo has yet another plan to innovate, and thus stay relevant in an ever more challenging search arena.  And just as they’ve done many times over the years, it already appears they’ve got a lot to learn about messaging.  Not to mention it appears they’re still stuck in “riding other businesses coat-tails” while claiming otherwise.

This time, it’s Axis, Yahoo’s new web browser (that’s not apparently an actual web browser, but more about that in a minute…)

Yesterday afternoon I saw a tweet from Glenn Gabe that was a pretty bold claim

I was immediately chuckling over that notion.  That Yahoo, a search company that totally failed at being a search company, was going to now take over the web browser market.  So of course, I had to click through to read how Yahoo was going to completely break their track record, in an area they have zero experience with.

That link took me to a Launch.co article detailing an email from Yahoo touting the new offering as “a new browser that redefines what it means to search and browse- enabling a seamless search experience on your iPhone, iPad, and even your desktop. ”

Later in the article the email goes on to state “download Axis or get the app”.  Okay so I clicked through to the Axis site. There’s not much going on there at this point, though you can watch a two minute demo, or their minute and ten second Ad, and even “Get It Now”.

Yahoo and the Art of Confused Messages

Watching the demo, “Scott”, the “Product Manager for Axis” (someone with apparently enough inside knowledge to know for sure whether it’s really a new web browser or not), opens by introducing himself and stating it’s “A new kind of browser”.

The demo makes it look like a hip, slick and cool browser, showing you instant previews of sites you’re searching for…

Wait a minute… Is this a web browser, or a skin for Yahoo search? I’m instantly confused…

He goes on to say it “completey redefines what it means to explore the web…”

When Is A Browser Not Always A Browser?

See, apparently, it’s really combining a web browser AND a search engine!  That could very well be innovative.  Now he’s got my attention!

Watching the video, he demonstrates how you can click on the URL field where you can enter a web address, or search.  Yeah, all in one field.  No need to enter a URL in one field and a search term in another field!  (So innovative! < sigh >)

Alan Bleiweiss
Alan Bleiweiss is a Forensic SEO audit consultant with audit client sites consisting of upwards of 50 million pages and tens of millions of visitors a month. A noted industry speaker, author and blogger, his posts are quite often as much controversial as they are thought provoking.
Alan Bleiweiss

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9 thoughts on “Yahoo Axis Web Browser Thats Not A Browser Maybe

  1. This is an extremely timely review, considering I just saw this ‘Axis’ bubble popping up under Yahoo’s search bar and was thinking to myself “hmm… NOW what are they up to…?”

    I immediately wonder: How bitter is Bing going to be that this app/browser/search engine is bypassing paid search ads completely?

    (also, this article was damn entertaining, informative, and fun to read. And then I got to the bottom and saw who it was written by and thought to myself “of course it was.”)

  2. Hey Alan, great review. Time will tell if this will work. The thumbnails work for images but not really for searching information. It also work for bookmarks but you can’t import the bookmarks. They have a lot of work to do.

  3. Wow, you are bitter. I’m really not sure how you were so confused by what Axis is. It all seems very straightforward to me, but I might just be one of the “sheep”.

    1. Thanks for the comment Andrew. My writing style is definitely not for everyone, so I appreciate that you took the time to offer the feedback given your take on it.

  4. It’s getting much better reviews for iPad and iPhone due to the fact that it was built on their cocktails platform (which is a mobile first initiative). Smoother interface on mobile devices. Check out the iTunes review comments. People seem to be enjoying it. Also, it’s only v1.0 dude….chillax! haha

  5. Sounds good to me. Not a bad idea. Of course the bugs will go eventually… Although on a competition front I was wondering, won’t other browsers become mere programs to run this app/plug-in/whatever….? Are those companies going to take this well? I do a lot with chrome today, When i tried Axis, Chrome seemed to become redundant although I was using it.

  6. Ali,

    Glad you enjoyed my take on Axis!

    Richard,

    I agree about the work they have in front of them. I understand the need/desire to rush to market, however with search being what it is, to not consider the problem of very poor descriptive info with thumbnails, or to have done so and possibly decided it wasn’t important enough, was, in my opinion, a big mistake…

    Tom,

    Thanks for the insights about the mobile version. And yes, given that its only version 1.0, I do expect them to make improvements over time. As a Quality Assurance fanatic, I tend to insist that even version 1.0 software not have what I consider common sense bugs.

  7. If I wanted a browser inside my other browser I wouldn’t have downloaded it in the first place. Yahoo has a bad habit of piggybacking its products onto everyone elses products. Man up and create something that stands or falls on its own. First they want you to add toolbars, then search engines and then when they finally get the idea to come up with a browser per se; it’s and addition to another browser that just brings more clutter and its extremely annoying rising up and down at the bottom of the firefox screen. Stop being so parasitic. It you want to create a real browser, lets see what you got!

  8. I was stubborn about switching from Firefox to Chrome – and ultimately it was for speed reasons.

    Today I get this Axis invite via email from Yahoo, and watched the same demo you reference. If it really were a web browser, I’d check it out. But based on how they describe it it sounds like an annoying desktop / browser companion.

    But ultimately I don’t think what fails to intrigue is the confused messaging – it’s how dumbed down the explanation is. We’ve been using web browsers in earnest for 10+ years, and really – tile previews is something that gets you excited? “Picking up where you left off?” (ahem – yes, that’s what we use “bookmarks” and “search history” for).

    I use Yahoo for fantasy sports, and for checking sports news in general – and they have some fantastic properties in that area (and I’m sure in many other entertainment news categories that I don’t follow). But the browser is sacred ground, and this sounded very half-baked / so-what to me. It either needs to be its own web browser, or have articulated clear benefits that don’t already exist in Chrome / Firefox / Safari. IMHO, it did neither.