Yahoo have today launched their brand new innovative visual search feature, Axis, and it certainly shows that, despite it having the largest market share, it’s not all just about Google.
When used on the PC, Axis functions as a search bar at the bottom of your screen, hiding away in the bottom left corner until needed. Once a keyphrase is typed into the search bar is when Axis truly comes alive, displaying a range of results from a variety of sources (not simply website results) without having to navigate away from your current page, as can be seen below. We ran a search for ‘Yahoo Axis’ both on Google and within Axis on the same page:
What you get with Axis that you don’t with Google is a very appealing visualisation of the search results, both with relevant news items and websites being displayed from this in-browser feature.
However, what must be taken into account here is that the results displayed in Axis differ significantly to the traditional Yahoo search results. The way in which results are ranked in Axis takes into account both clicks and the time spent on sites in additional to conventional ranking factors.
Users are displayed with visual results in a horizontal format and from our time spent using Axis this morning, it offers a much more user oriented search experience. One can quickly assess whether a site may be relevant to them by the visual previews which form the results (whilst Google have had a preview for a while now, you had to specifically click or hover to bring the preview up) and it may be the case that horizontal scrolling of results is more appealing than vertical displays.
Whilst that, in simple, is Axis for the PC, it excels even greater when used on a mobile device. On a smartphone or tablet, the visualisations come to life even more, offering a truly dedicated mobile search experience, as can be seen below.
The next and just as impressive feature of Axis is the ability to move between search results without having to return to a search screen. When viewing Axis results, users are displayed with arrows at the left and right of a screen, allowing them to quickly and easily move to the next, or previous, result, as seen below:
To fully understand and appreciate Axis, you need to try it for yourself. Whether on your PC, smartphone or tablet, take a moment to download it here. You can also view their demo video below:
How Will Google Respond?
The big question which everyone will be asking is how will Google respond? It is without a doubt that a similar function will be implemented in the near future as it’s very unlikely that the search giant’s will have a rival search engine with a feature which is that good! The real question though is when and what? Google are surely going to try and go one better but until it’s launched, we’re unlikely to know what that is.