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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), the largest U.S. Web portal, is unveiling a browser for smartphones and tablet computers that aims to simplify searches on mobile devices as the company looks for new ways to woo users.
The “Yahoo! Axis” browser, which will work initially on Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, gives surfers small previews of the websites at the top of the screen so users don’t have to leave the page they’re on while still interacting with query results. Yahoo also is unveiling a browser plug-in version for desktop browsers, including Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Chrome and newer versions of Apple’s Safari.
Yahoo, struggling to keep users on its site amid management changes and a board realignment, is rolling out the service as it grapples with competition from larger providers. Google had 67 percent of the U.S. search-engine market on desktops in April, while Microsoft Corp.’s Bing had 15 percent, according to ComScore Inc. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing, had 14 percent.
“We’ve been hard at work making the next big step in search and changing the landscape of search,” said Shashi Seth, a senior vice president in charge of search products at Yahoo. “This product clearly will demonstrate that.”
While the product will be introduced on Apple devices, other versions could be added in the future, possibly Google’s Android, he said.
Axis, which looks similar to other browsers, enables users to swipe through search results and requires fewer clicks. Using a login, Axis also remembers users’ recent searches and bookmarks regardless of what device is being accessed.
The product roll-out comes after the company named Ross Levinsohn interim-chief executive officer earlier this month. Former CEO Scott Thompson stepped down after failing to correct errors in his academic credentials. Meanwhile, Fred Amoroso became chairman of the Sunnyvale, California-based company, replacing Roy Bostock, the non-executive chairman.
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