Kara Swisher

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Good Lord, I Might Now Want to Use Yahoo Search Again — Product Dudes Talk About New Axis Browser (Video)

Yahoo introduced its new Axis browser tonight, with versions for the Apple iPad and iPhone, as well as plugins for the top desktop browsers.

The company briefed a media army on the product and the consensus is that it’s very good. My favorite headline from Gizmodo: “Yahoo Came Out With Its Own Web Browser and It Actually Doesn’t Suck.”

No, it’s even — dare I say it — innovative!

That it was done while Yahoo has been in such crisis is a minor miracle, I would add.

It’s a slick offering, which essentially eliminates the texty link-filled search page for one of pretty visual tiles and pull-downs and more. Think Pinterest of search and you have the general idea.

But let’s hear from the dudes who pulled it off (though please allow me to customize or hide the giant klutzy search bar at the bottom).

Here’s an interview I did with Ethan Batraski, who runs product for Yahoo’s Search Innovation Group, as well as Shashi Seth, who heads its Connections unit, about Axis (which I might note was the name of the group that lost World War II).

But better luck at winning the browser war here, since — in this case, at least — Yahoo deserves it.

And here’s the Yahoo press release on Axis:

Navigating a New Course In Search — Introducing Yahoo! Axis

Seamless Across Multiple Devices, Axis Re-defines Searching and Browsing

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 23, 2012 – Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), the premier digital media company, today announced the availability of Yahoo! Axis, a new experience that re-imagines how people search and browse on the web. Axis offers the only search experience that allows you to enter your search, see and interact with visual results, all without ever leaving the page you are on. Axis seamlessly integrates with your favorite desktop browser and automatically connects your online experiences across multiple devices. Axis is available today for download across iOS devices and as a desktop plug-in for HTML5-enabled browsers.

“Our search strategy is predicated on two core belief — one, that people want answers, not links and two, that consumer-facing search is ripe for innovative disruption,” said Shashi Seth, senior vice president, Connections, Yahoo! Inc. “With Axis, we have re-defined and re-architected the search and browse experience from the ground up.”

Visually rich, Axis provides an easy and efficient cross-device experience that today’s connected consumers want:

· Smarter, Faster Search with Rich Design: Axis gives people instant answers and visual previews so they can continuously discover and explore content without interruption. Encased in a sleek design, Axis keeps people moving forward rather than constantly returning to a page of endless blue links. Once on a search results site, Axis also lets people simply swipe or click to the next result.

· Connected Experience: Axis allows people to move seamlessly across devices. Upon downloading Axis, people can start a search on their computer, flip through the results while out on their iPhone, and finish the search at home on their iPad. Content can be easily shared by email, Pinterest and Twitter.

· Personalized Home Page: After signing in with Yahoo!, Google or Facebook credentials, Axis centralizes online lives with a customizable Home Page that provides direct access to their favorite sites, saved articles and bookmarks across all devices where Axis has been downloaded.

· Standalone Mobile Browser, DesktopPlug-In: On iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Axis serves as a standalone mobile browser app. On the desktop,Axis is a browser plug-in that works with Firefox 7+, Safari v5+, Internet Explorer 9 and all versions of Chrome.

· Innovative Technology Backbone: Axis is built upon the Yahoo! Cocktails mobile development platform, which is designed for creating deeply personalized products that are built for connected devices first. Comprised of Mojito, an open source JavaScript MVC framework and Manhattan, a cloud-based hosted environment, Cocktails is a blend of open, standard web technologies including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and Node.JS.

To learn more about Yahoo! Axis and download the desktop plug-in, visit the Axis microsite and our company blog, Yodel Anecdotal. The new Yahoo! Axis App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.iTunes.com/appstore/.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik