After a consistent stream of bad news from Yahoo’s executive offices, the fading giant search company has finally launched a big new development that takes on its core business challenge: staying relevant. The company on Thursday launched its own Web browser called Yahoo Axis.
Axis is centered around searching, bookmarking, and content syncing across multiple devices. While Yahoo says Axis is both a desktop and mobile browser, it is really just a mobile browser for the iPad and iPhone, and a plug-in for Safari/Chrome/IE/Firefox which amounts to a little more than a “next-gen Yahoo Toolbar.”
With that being said, Yahoo in 2012 has moved toward adopting a “mobile first” strategy, and third-party browser share in the mobile realm is still up for grabs, so concentrating on its mobile application is a solid maneuver.
The point of all this is to get Yahoo! back in front of people and, perhaps more importantly, get them using Yahoo! services. Though the company hasn’t expressly described how the browser synching will work, I have to imagine that a Yahoo! account is required at some level.
Despite these smart moves from Yahoo!, I have a hard time seeing this taking off in any kind of meaningful way. The Google search bar successfully got people using Google, but it actually provided a service that browsers lacked at the time: Dead simple web search, built right in. Though the synching between devices is useful, that alone doesn’t seem like a strong enough feature.
That said, it’s honestly refreshing to see something positive coming from Yahoo!. Perhaps Axis’ slick design and clever features might be the shot-in-the-arm that Yahoo! has been looking for. Those interested can download the iPad and iPhone versions from the Apple app store, and the desktop plugin here.