Yahoo enters browser market - but messes up with Chrome extension

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Yahoo may have found something to distract from its rather high turnover of CEOs: a new browser plug-in aimed at simplifying search. Unfortunately, though, it's been a bit careless here too.

Axis takes the form of an iOS app and plug-ins for the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers. There's an Android version under development. The aim, says the company, is to speed up search by doing it all on the same page.

Once installed, Axis resides in a little search bar in a corner of the screen, which expands when a search query is entered, showing a strip of site preview thumbnail images.

"It's the end of the back button!" says the company's Regan Clark.

The iOS version synchs with the desktop, so that a user can start a search on their iPhone and finish it off on a PC at home. The personalized home page, with bookmarks and recent visits, also stays with the user as they switch devices.

"Our search strategy is predicated on two core beliefs — one, that people want answers, not links and two, that consumer-facing search is ripe for innovative disruption," says Shashi Seth, senior vice president, connections.

"With Axis, we have re-defined and re-architected the search and browse experience from the ground up."

While it may not seem as if the world needs another browser, Yahoo's probably got its eye primarily on the mobile market, with Axis appearing particularly clear and easy to use on a small device.

The company's been struggling for some time, and wasn't helped earlier this month when it was forced to get rid of CEO Scott Thompson after he was discovered gto have falsified his resume.

Unfortunately, though, right after launch, Yahoo's been forced to disable the Chrome extension, after a developer pointed out that it leaks its private certificate file, and could thererfore be forged and cloned into fake extensions.

Yahoo says it's working on a fix and expects to have one 'very shortly'.