Yahoo Unveils New Browser: Axis–What this means for retailers

May 30, 2012

We don’t blog much about Yahoo!, but last week they threw us for a loop, and honestly did something that has me scratching my head a bit. Last week, Yahoo! announced Axis, their own browser. On the heels of the announcement that Google’s Chrome had become the world’s most popular web browser, the hoopla around Axis was minimal, but we’ve taken a quick tour and are here to give you the recap.

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First, for those of you who, like myself, need to get your bearings before processing the impact of this, let’s start at the basics. Axis is a browser. Like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and for you old folks like me, Netscape. Yes, I said it. Google.com and Bing are Search Engines. You can “Google” something from IE and Safari. Chrome’s default search engine is Google and I’m assuming Axis’s default is Yahoo!. OK, now that we have that straight, let’s talk about features and impacts.

Axis is boasting a “seamless” browsing experience across devices. For now it looks like only iOS systems are supported. They do have a cool “continue from” button that allows you to pick up right where you left off, but keep in mind that you have to be signed in on each device. Yahoo! has not found a miracle solution to the “cookie across devices” attribution issue. (Insert sad trombone here.) Axis also incorporates Google’s Instant Results and Google’s Site Preview features.

ChannelAdvisorAxisScreenshot

Now, hold onto your hats kids, because here comes the somewhat confusing part. Axis does not have ads. It does not have space for ads, it serves no ads and you cannot (at this time) buy ad space. I find this bizarre for two reasons. First, it lacks a revenue stream. Secondly because since Bing started serving ads for the Yahoo! search results page, we’ve seen Bing/Yahoo! combined search query volume decrease significantly compared to the pre-merger combined totals. While some people might prefer an ads-free experience, advertisers are already looking for ways to recover lost BingHoo (that’s a ChannelAdvisor-coined term) traffic. Yahoo! has stated that the search experience will be completely independent from Bing even though the results themselves are Bing powered.

So, what does this mean for you? Unfortunately for Yahoo!, probably not much. Unless adoption of access becomes quite aggressive you probably won’t see much of an impact overall. If it begins to look like Axis is going to be a hit, I predict two things. First, that Google will immediately launch these same unique features of axis into Chrome, plus about 10 more. Second, that Yahoo! will monetize Axis with ads. Voila, problem averted.

In the meantime, check out Axis here:

http://axis.yahoo.com/

Cool and useful, or gimmicky? We’d love to know what you think!

Blog post by Jackie Jenkins, Global Manager, Search Services