Yahoo Axis Launched, Changes how you Search on the Internet

Martin Brinkmann
May 24, 2012
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Yahoo

The basic search concept has not really evolved in the past decade or so. People visit a search engine like Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo, enter  a search term there, and wait for the results listing to be displayed to them. This is usually displayed in a table-like vertical format, with every search engine throwing in some extra features at the top or sides of the results.

The very same process is imitated when you use the browser's search bar instead, with the difference that you do not have to open the search engine's web page manually to use the form there.

Yahoo Axis is a search experiment that tries to redefine web search. It is available for a number of platforms, including Apple's iOS operating system, but also for the desktop in form of add-ons and plugins for popular browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

In Firefox, Yahoo Axis places a small search bar at the bottom left corner of the screen, right above the browser's status bar if you have enabled it. When you enter a search term there, you will notice that results are automatically displayed as thumbnails in the lower screen area.

You see a list of suggestions on the far left that let you refine the search term, and then the actual search results that you have to scroll horizontally. You can use the mouse wheel for that comfortably, or click on the left and right buttons to scroll to the results instead.

Each result represents a website, which is displayed with a thumbnail screenshot, the title of the page, and part of the url. When you hover over the thumbnail, you will see the full url being displayed in the browser's lower left corner. A left-click opens the result's page in the same browser tab, a middle-click in a new tab, at least in Firefox.

When you look at how Axis has been designed, you will probably notice that it is seems optimized for touch. You can flip right through the results on your Apple devices with a flick of the finger, and selections are improved as it is easier to hit a thumbnail link than a standard text link.

For desktop users, the add-on may be a bit on the annoying side of things, considering that it is displayed in the lower left screen corner all the time. I'd expect Yahoo to implement at least an on and off switch for each supported browser to turn it on or off easily. I'd also like to see customization options, for instance to increase the size of the thumbnail area, or even have the add-on display two rows of thumbnail results at once.

Users who log into their Yahoo account get automatic synchronization of history and settings, so that the data is available on all supported devices, so that you can continue your browsing session on another device.

The image search that Axis provides is actually pretty good. You need to click on Search Web in the lower left corner of the screen, and switch to Images there to do that. You will now see two rows of image search results that is scrolling endlessly. That in itself is a nice representation, when you click on an image, it is displayed in an image browser on screen. Once you have the image browser displayed, you can use it as well to go through all the results one by one.
axis image search
Yahoo Axis is available at Apple's Appstore, and for desktop browsers at the official Axis website.
I personally think it needs some work done to it on the desktop, whereas it might really be a solid alternative for tablets and smartphones, provided that you won't mind using Yahoo Search for your web searches. According to Yahoo, an Android version is currently in development.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

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