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Yahoo makes web search visual with Axis launch

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Yahoo has launched a new form of software that "re-imagines how people search and browse on the web".

Yahoo Axis works by displaying search results as a touch-enabled visual string of webpage previews, rather than just a long list of links.

Yahoo Axis

© Yahoo



The launch is part of Yahoo's plan to take back search market share from rivals such as Google and Microsoft's Bing. According to comScore data, Yahoo sites accounted for just 13.5% of all US search requests in April 2011, compared to 20.4% two years earlier.

However, Axis will not initially be a cash generator for Yahoo as ads are not included in the results.

Axis allows users to "search, see and interact" with visual results without leaving the web page they are on. It is being released as an app for Apple's iPhones and iPads, and as a plug-in for web browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer.

"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," said Shashi Seth, the senior vice president of Connections at Yahoo.

"With Axis, we have re-defined and re-architected the search and browse experience from the ground up."

Yahoo described Axis as the "personal companion for your daily explorations of the web".

The US firm said that the search engine's design ensures it "keeps people moving forward rather than constantly returning to a page of endless blue links".

Due to the visual presentation, users are able to preview various web information before clicking on the link, particularly useful for tasks such as checking weather forecasts.

Anyone downloading Axis can link searches through multiple devices, meaning they can start a search on the desktop and continue on their iPhone. Search results can also be easily shared by email, Pinterest and Twitter.

Home pages can be personalised by signing in via Yahoo, Google or Facebook, and Axis is built on the Yahoo Cocktails mobile development platform, blending standard web technologies including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and Node.JS.

Yahoo said that it plans to add more features to Yahoo Axis and also release the app for other devices beyond iOS "in the coming future".

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