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Yahoo Axis (itunes.apple.com)
67 points by KaoruAoiShiho on May 25, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

I hate the favoritism people show to companies. Whenever Apple (and normally Google) come out with something, people go crazy just drooling to try it out. However, when Yahoo came out with Axis, I saw people saying things like 'Why doesn't Yahoo just quit trying and go bankrupt already?' etc. When a company comes out with a new product, people shouldn't jump on the company-fanboy/hater bandwagons.

That being said, it's nice to see Yahoo do something well.

I think Yahoo's brand perception differs depending on the audience.

The HN crowd seems to be pretty tired of Yahoo. I know I am. I'm disappointed that they never made a good Flickr mobile app, and sad about what Yahoo did with del.icio.us. A few years ago, those were two of my favorite web services. No longer.

Other issues: the quality of Yahoo Answers is a running joke. Yahoo Groups sorely needs to be remodeled, but their 2010 attempt was a miserable failure. Some people are still sore about what happened to GeoCities.

Issues like these set expectations among a certain audience. I admit I don't expect Yahoo to hit a home run these days.

Yet there are people (non-techy folks) in my family who have used Yahoo for over ten years for their mail, news, and search. When they've had problems, I've tried to talk them into switching to something better, but they like Yahoo. So there you go.

To each their own. But after my recent poor experiences with Yahoo, I don't feel guilty that my expectations are set low. I'm not rooting for them to fail, but I can't help feeling fairly cynical about them.

Exception that proves the rule of the quality of Yahoo Answers: Craig Newmark answering a question about how craigslist makes money. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060720194938AA...

Are authoritative answers like those still being posted on Y! Answers these days though? Craig's answer was from 6 years ago.

These days I still find many general knowledge questions (i.e. non-technical) being redirected from Google to an entry in Y! Answers. These are not strongly affected by time, so I suppose it's still playing a role (even if only as an archive)

Though their method of distribution on desktop is not impressive/standard at all. I tried to install it, it downloaded me a .crx file. Now I know how to use it, but a normal user wouldn't. The extension is unavailable on Chrome Web Store and they do not use the right meta tags to allow for one click installation from their own site.

People pick favorites, perhaps at some point in our evolution it aided our survival, but whether its companies, sports teams, sushi restaurants, or even countries people seem to naturally form a we-them relationship. Marketeers exploit that as 'brand loyalty' and it works. Yahoo has had a lot of damage done to its brand through a series of missteps that will take time to heal.

That said, Axis is an interesting strategy for them. I don't know how it will work out but its clear they they are not going to go willingly into receivership. So in that regard I cheer them on, some of the best inventions come out of desperation and it is soooooo much easier to ship something untried in a desperate company than it is in a market leading company.

The iPhone version of Axis is fantastic. I love the visual search. The horizontal scrolling took a minute to figure out and get used to, but being able to flick back and forth between the search results & the open page instantly is fantastic.

One thing that's annoying -- when you're scrolled down a page and you're reaching for the page titlebar handle it's a little too small. I keep swiping the the iPhone status bar down instead.

Edit: Looks like the desktop version of the "browser" is actually an add-on. For Safari, it's only 24KB (awesome!). If only it did a little prefetching to make the next & previous search results a little faster.

The image search on the desktop is insanely fast. It preloads so well. Kudos to Yahoo.

Those reviews look fake.

In my experience, the onboarding experience sucked and it crashed every time I used it until I installed it.

"Very cool!! Tons of features. Very fluid. Definitely a step in the right direction by Yahoo!"

Sounds like someone from PR wrote that.

There are 900+ ratings with a 4+ star average. You're saying those are all Yahoos?

Probably not, but how many of those 900+ reviews are from Yahoo's 12,000 employees?

I know some mobile app companies will have a few of their own people write reviews. But if someone from the Yahoo Axis team really sent out a mass company-wide email asking for fake reviews like this, someone is bound to cry foul (and forward the email to ATD).

They don't have to ask for fake reviews. They just have to say "Hey our cool new app dropped into AppStore today. Check it out and review it if you like it." Yahooers might genuinely like it and give it a high score.

It should be taken as a good sign if 900+ employees are still motivated enough to download and review the app.

they can pay contractors on odesk to write these reviews.

Which would also leak. Guaranteed.

900 is not _that_ big. If we assume that 400 outsiders gave it a 3.5, and 500 yahoos gave it 5 star rating, it adds up to 4.33 average.

And 500 is a tiny fraction of the total number of people at Yahoo.

Yahoo isnt the type of company to make its employees rate its apps. Maybe you should be more open-minded. 900 is pretty big for 2 days after launch.

No, I did not mean it in that way at all. If I was of a mid to senior level executive or developer at Yahoo, I would definitely rate this Axis up, just because of loyalty towards the company, if nothing else. I would also urge (but definitely not force) my team members to try it, and chances are they would feel the same way.

All that put together would add up to a lot of votes, wouldn't it?

It doesn't help that the Axis review page on the app store is the only Google hit for "Garrettt92"[0], especially considering that was one of the first reviews of the app. I'm not sure why an "early adopter" would have such a scant web presence. I would try Axis before writing the review off as fake, but unfortunately "Yahoo! Axis is not available for your operating system".

[0]: https://google.com/webhp?q=Garrettt92

"In your experience".

Ever considered others might have had a different experience? I took it for a spin (iPad2) and it seems pretty nice actually - and yes, it did not crash. I don't see it as a replacement for Safari, but it looks perfect for leisure browsing.

Review manipulation is rampant on the iOS App Store. The rating system is basically useless because of it.


This is one of those cases where I wish I had a giant "SELECTION BIAS!" sign that I carried around everywhere.

Why does Apple warn users that they must be at least 17 to download a browser. Or for that matter say that Axis may contain:

    Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
    Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
    Infrequent/Mild Simulated Gambling
    Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
    Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
    Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes
    Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
    Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity

Because some parents might disable Safari but still enable installing apps that have appropriate age ratings, and installing this app is a way to bypass Safari being disabled.

(Not that I agree with any of that -- that's just why).

I didn't really want to prognosticate what would happen to Axis, despite the promo video being _really_ really cringeworthy. But my doubts stem from the fact that regardless of whether or not it became successful, it's still dependent on Microsoft/Apple/Google to deliver this to users.

If it gains traction and people like the features it brings, whats to stop all the current major players in the Browser space from just copying it? This isn't exactly a social media site where no matter how much money is thrown into Facebook it comes out on top because of sheer number of users. This is completely dependent on attaching itself to a browser. I have to believe that they would eventually implement it into their browsers if it started making money or became very popular for Yahoo.

And the second thing, what happens when Apple decides that this thing is competing directly with Mobile Safari and kills it from its store (and surprise, the other two major players in the Browser space, Google and Microsoft, also own the app store Axis is trying to deploy to).

So the best outcome for this thing is to be just a moderate success, where the big 3 in browsers don't really have incentive/time/effort to implement directly into the browser.

You mean like when Apple killed Opera, Google Search, iCab Mobile, Atomic and the many other web browsers. Oh wait. They didn't.

And there are plenty of replacements for the core apps: mail, contacts, calendar etc.

That's just not fully true and you know it. You can't drop in a full replacement browser like on Android in iOS. All web rendering still has to be done using the native webkit.

Yet the others are full replacement browsers. I'd call Safari and Chrome (on desktop) entirely different browsers, because the browser itself is designed a lot differently in each case. The way Opera Mini works, I'd certainly call Opera Mini a different browser from Mobile Safari.

Who cares what the rendering tech is? Only Web designers and anal retentive people; everybody else just wants a browser experience, and doesn't give a shit. Honestly.

If only WebKit apps are permitted that means they're paying attention to securing just WebKit, which is good from my perspective even as a developer that supports open-source. I'm betting that in the future Android will be the Windows of yesteryear, where the first thing you do is install a virus scanner. Apple is selling me on closed platforms so far.

> If only WebKit apps are permitted that means they're paying attention to securing just WebKit, which is good from my perspective even as a developer that supports open-source. I'm betting that in the future Android will be the Windows of yesteryear, where the first thing you do is install a virus scanner. Apple is selling me on closed platforms so far.

What I'm taking away from this paragraph is that you're a developer who supports open source software, but not a developer who supports Free Software. Am I right?

I think if Yahoo came up with Hadoop at this point of time, people would have ridiculed it too. Just a herd mentality to feel superior by hating Yahoo.

I actually think the feature set seems really good. I saw it and immediately downloaded it. Unfortunately, I had to uninstall it not much later (from a desktop machine). It just seemed to screw up the browser.

If they can get the stability and performance up to snuff, I'd give it another shot.

Anyone get it to install on recent Chromes on Win7? 21.0.1145.0 dev-m doesn't think it's installable, and when I forced it through the developer panel, it crashed, restarted, and crashed in a loop til I disabled it. Is it just me?

I think even if Yahoo have had terrible direction during last 5 years, this product could be their salute. I'll give it a try to see what they can do now.

What constitutes 'users love'? It says (at this time) 4.5 stars across 891 Ratings, and prima facie 891 users seems pretty low ...

900 ratings in two days isn't bad

Correction: Users love the Yahoo Axis iOS app

yeah it's not the same thing... tried the chrome extension and it sucks... it really does

It's not what people inside Silicon Valley think. It's what people outside Silicon Valley think.

Hasn't anyone noticed the similarity between Axis' and Adobe's logo?

the chrome extension is great. I wouldn't use it for technical searches but researching a topic in the news so far has been brilliant.

one thought, this would be awesome as an RSS feed reader.

If you've used the app, you know that something isn't right here. Seems like(and reads like, especially compared to other app store reviews) these are being written by Yahoo employees trying to avoid a lay off.

Axis iPad app was mostly well received by the tech media. HN is one of the notable exception. You do realize you sound silly sprouting this conspiracy theory right? If you don't like, don't use it. But that doesn't make whoever disagrees with you a Yahoo employee.



I just downloaded. It seems nice I guess. The search is neat, but not a killer feature for me.

I still prefer Atomic Browser, mainly for the full screen capability. That is not so important on the iPad, but it makes for a nicer experience on the iPhone.

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