With more and more people on the move, more and more web browsing is being done on the go. Every device has a built-in browser, but on all three major OSes, the browser just seems like it’s lacking something. With Yahoo! Axis (iPhone/iPad) Yahoo! hopes to make browsing a bit more intuitive and enjoyable, instead of just your run-of-the-mill searching. With a fancy GUI and a backend that stretches across mobile devices and pc and mac, does Yahoo! have what it takes to take over the mobile browsing market?
What is Axis?
Simply put, Axis is a mobile browser for iOS devices that attempts to turn search on its head. Instead of your standard “enter your search into the field” style browsing, Axis presents search results in real-time status, with predictive type and visual previews of each page. Before you’ve even entered a letter into the search field, Axis presents you with currently trending topics, previous searches, and anything you marked as “read later” so that you’re able to return to your article at a later time.
How does it work?
Instead of linear search results, pages are returned to the user in a slide-to-preview style stream. Unfortunately (and this applies moreso to iPhone devices) this preview method only allows you to see one page at a time and leaves you with no idea of further search results. I have to say, it’s not the most ideal way to search for things if you don’t know what you’re looking for and, unless you’re really interested in seeing a visual preview, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anything past the first few results without really putting forth some effort. How Yahoo! managed to take something that should be simple and make it more difficult is bewildering, but it’s a bit of a failure to have to do any real, hardcore searching on the browser.
Where Axis does shine, however, are searches that are likely to be found on the first hit. A simple search of “The Gadget Gurus“, for instance, loads up a preview of thegadgetgurus.net and tapping on the preview will load up the page. Another nice feature of Axis is the ability to share your viewing via email and twitter, so that others can enjoy whatever it is you’re browsing. Pages can be “stuck” to the homepage for easy access any time you bring up the browser.
The best feature of Axis, however, is its integration across multiple methods of viewing. Want to start reading a page on your iPhone and continue it on your PC when you get home? Axis allows you to do that with relative ease. By simply selecting “continue from iPad”, you’re able to pick right up on your PC where you left off on your iPad.
There’s nothing to do to get the devices to sync, rather Axis does it on its own, as you browse. It’s actually quite ingenious and definitely the selling feature Yahoo! should be going after the most. Axis isn’t even a separate browser if you’re a current Chrome or Firefox user, instead existing as an installable extension to the browser.
While at first coming off a bit rocky, Axis seems like one of those apps that could end up being a lot more useful than I first suspected. I don’t necessarily need a new browser, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t be open to trying something new. Truth be told, the built-in safari on iOS really sucks. It’s slow and not very feature-rich, so something like Axis is a breath of fresh air. Visually, Axis is a great app, with a presentation that you’d never expect from a browser. Functionally, there’s a little bit left to be desired, but once you get over that, it has a lot of neat features that lend to its usefulness. I don’t know that I’d recommend this browser to everyone, and I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 apple fanboys wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, but for those readers who are willing to take a chance or two with a new method of looking for websites, Axis might just be up your alley and is definitely worth at least a look.
Guru Review Score:
Ease of Use: 7/10 (Thorough searches could be a little rough to achieve)