GCN LAB IMPRESSIONS

Could Yahoo's Axis change the way you browse the Web?

Yahoo recently announced it is releasing a new browser plug-in for use on any platform — a ‘search browser’ as they coin it, to be called Axis. And like anything scheduled for release nowadays, is supposed to totally revolutionize the way we use the Internet.

So I decided to check Axis out. At it’s core, it’s a dynamic search bar that sits at the bottom of your normal browser window. When called up, it will help you complete search terms and show you previews of websites that change as you refine your search with additional terms.

It’s designed to work with the most current versions of the four major browsers — Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari. Note that for Internet Explorer you need Version 9, which as you may know by now requires Windows 7. So for those Windows XP users still out there, you will have to use Firefox or Chrome with Axis, or upgrade your entire operating system.

Once installed, Axis just sits there out of the way on the bottom of the screen until you click on it and start typing. Once you do, it shows trending searches (weird that “Yahoo Axis” would be at the top of that list, huh?) that change as you type. Also, previews of websites start showing up so you can see where you might want to go. It’s a lot more efficient than a Google search, which we suppose is probably the point.

Yahoo also is making an app for iOS that will do essentially the same thing, but as a stand-alone that is not plugged into a Web browser.

At first glance this is nothing we haven’t seen before, so I don't know how revolutionary it's going to be. But it is pretty well put-together, and it’s by far the most unobtrusive of its ilk when not in use. Personally, that latter fact scores a lot of points with me.

You can try it for yourself while it’s in beta. Let me know if you agree with me or not! Will this be something you’ll be adding to your browser?

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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