Yahoo's New Search Tool 'Axis' Fails to Impress

Dennis Faas's picture

'Axis,' a new search tool from Yahoo, is designed to help the company keep pace with rivals Google and Microsoft in the fast-changing search market.

Unfortunately, observers seem to doubt the new feature will help the troubled firm out of its funk.

It has been a tough six months for Yahoo, which announced earlier this year that it was laying off a large part of its global workforce.

Then in early May the company's new chief executive officer Scott Thompson was shown to have lied on his resume, leading investors to call for his resignation.

Eventually, Thompson obliged.

Axis Search Shows Images, Not Links

With the company's file and rank feeling troubled by this turmoil, Yahoo is now trying to put on a brave face.

Part of that effort involves releasing a new mobile search tool intended to make the process of finding information easier than ever before.

The new tool, called 'Axis,' changes the usual online search process in several ways.

First, it auto-populates the query form whenever a user begins to enter a search term. This helps speed up the search process.

Second, there's never any need to actually hit the enter button to trigger a search. (Source:

This feature isn't particularly new (Google's Chrome browser has been offering something similar for awhile). However, Yahoo has refined the feature and taken it a step further.

Third, Axis accelerates the search process by providing users with a picture of web pages that result from the search, instead of just a series of links.

This gives searchers a better idea of whether or not they want to click on any of the links to see the pages that 'Axis' is suggesting as results of their search.

Images Allegedly Slow Down Browser Performance

Although this sounds like a handy new way to search the web, reviews of Axis are so far somewhat negative.

The Washington Post says that for desktop and notebook users the 'Axis' search software is "little more than a glorified toolbar." The main reason: all those images of results pages slow down browser performance. (Source:

Furthermore, the Post indicates that 'Axis' is clearly optimized for smartphones and tablet PCs -- or other devices with touchscreens -- and that it feels clunky and unintuitive when used with a traditional PC.

It's worth noting that this is just the start for Axis. Updates to the new Yahoo search service could dramatically improve this first-time effort.

Many observers are hoping, for the sake of all those unhappy Yahoo employees, that's precisely the case.

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