Yahoo has been struggling to stay in the search business. As Google dominates the largest share in search engine market, Yahoo is having a tough time maintaining the very existence of it. Though it announced in its Q1 report that the company has seen profits after 30+ months, with CEO Scott Thompson stepping down on a Computer Science degree scandal, the company’s future is again at stake.
That’s apparently why Yahoo thought of a new way to let people search the web through their smartphone, tablet and computers.
Yahoo Axis has just gone live. It’s a service that works seamlessly on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and computers (no sign of Android devices yet). iPhone and iPad, it’s just another app. Or better said, it’s a whole new browser. It has all the functionality that you have been enjoying on your Safari browser on iPhone and iPad. But Yahoo Axis comes with a completely new user interface. The biggest thing you’ll notice in the interface is that it doesn’t show a list of links against your search query. Instead, it shows a thumbnail of the preview of the site so that you can decide even before you go. These thumbnails are generated just as soon as you type the search query.
The idea is intuitive, but it’s not unique. From what I can see, it’s a combination of services or features that Google already offered. Let’s break them down.
Search as you type vs Google Instant
Type as you see the result is the brainchild of Google. Called Google Instant, you can still enjoy it on Google. Apparently, Yahoo just took the idea and came up with its own version of web browser. But then again, there’s this difference in the way search results are shown.
Thumbnails vs Preview
We all know Google turned on site preview on its search engine result pages a while ago. You need to click in an empty space next to a search result to show a complete preview of the site before you go. Yahoo just took the idea and built it into its newest browser.
However, there’s a drawback of it. If you’re using a limited Internet connection, Yahoo Axis will eat up a lot of bandwidth. Because, the browser loads search results and site thumbnails (images) as you type. So, there’s a chance that there may be as many as 10 search results before you finish typing your query. In this long time, a lot of unnecessary images will be loaded costing you extra bandwidth and data transfer. On the other hand, if your connection is slow, the app is going to feel sluggish.
Axis Toolbar vs Google Related
Anyone remember Google Related service? The service used to sit in the bottom of your browser allowing you to discover related web pages, images, videos, reviews and other things from elsewhere on the web.
Google recently discontinued the service as the company said the service did not attract as many users as it thought it would.
Yahoo Axis sits on your computer’s web browser, any browser, as a plugin or extension. It allows you to either synchronize with your iPad or iPhone app, or look for new things. It works just the same way it does on iPhone and iPad. The difference is, it works within the web page, just where Google Related used to sit. The Verge reported that the extension or plugin causes some performance issues once installed in the browser, especially when there are multiple tabs open.
The Verge also reported that Yahoo Axis works very smooth on the new “resolutionary” iPad but lags in iPhone 4S. So, if you own an iPhone 4 or possibly first generation iPad, you may not have the same performance level.
I must say the approach is new and intuitive, but I don’t think it’s going to last. Google Chrome recently announced the ability to synchronize tabs between multiple devices. And the trust level of Yahoo by people isn’t as strong as that with Google. You will see that most people use Google search even if they use other browser such as Safari or Internet Explorer. Some people also use Microsoft’s Bing for a change in taste. But Yahoo!? It seems and feels so outdated, man!
I don’t think Yahoo is going to find back its lost market in Search Engine through Yahoo Axis. I don’t even know what it has to do. But if I were to comment personally, I’d say that the first thing Yahoo needs to do is change the logo. That retro style YAHOO feels so 80s!
What do you think?