With Axis, Yahoo wades into the browser wars

Axis, from Yahoo, is available as a plug-in for most browsers and as an app on Apple iOS devices. 

Axis, the new browser skin from Yahoo.

Look out, MozillaYahoo is wading into the browser wars. 

In a press release today, Yahoo reps took the wraps off Axis, essentially a browser "skin," which drapes a proprietary features over your current browser. Axis is heavily visually oriented: search results crop up as thumbnails instead of as a link list. 

"Our search strategy is predicated on two core beliefs – one, that people want answers, not links and two, that consumer-facing search is ripe for innovative disruption," wrote Yahoo exec Shashi Seth. (Interestingly, this idea – "answers" over "results" – is also the core conceit behind Bing and the Google Knowledge Graph, which was introduced this month.) 

Axis is available on Apple iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone, and as a plug-in for most major browsers, from Firefox to Chrome. So, hey, how does Axis stack up? Well, over at The Verge, Scott Lowe notes that the Axis experience changes depending on the device. "For desktop and laptop users, Axis is little more than a glorified toolbar," he writes. 

But the iPad version, Lowe continues, "offers some unique features, such as multitasking support. For example, you can pull down the search bar and find new web pages as a previously loaded YouTube video continues to play in the panel below. Between the performance and feature benefits, the value offering of Axis on iPad far outweighs the Phone, though it could improve with future updates." 

Meanwhile, Peter Pachal of Mashable praises the "nice and minimalist" look of Axis, reserving special praise for the combo search/address bar, a feature that also appears on the Google Chrome browser. (Side note: For this blogger, it's amazing that all browsers don't boast this functionality. After you've gotten used to typing search queries and addresses into the same field, it's almost impossible to go back. You listening, Safari?) 

But the "most powerful features," Pachal adds, "could be its near-flawless device syncing. Open a page on your iPhone, and you can pick up right from there on your iPad or any major desktop browser (via an add-on or extension). All your bookmarks are synced, too – Yahoo even conveniently names one of your folders Read Later." 

Ready to try out Axis? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut

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