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Yahoo Axis on desktop, iOS unifies your bookmarks, makes the web visual (hands-on)

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We're all familiar with syncing bookmarks and save-for-later web services like Instapaper, but it's not often that they come with a full web component. Yahoo's hoping to hit the proverbial two birds tonight with Axis, which combines a desktop web browser extension (your choice of Chrome, Firefox or Safari) with a mobile app on the iPad and iPhone. You can bookmark any page and get at it later through a common portal -- hence the Axis name. That unity idea also extends to the idea of browser searching, where you'll see both trending topics as well as immediate answers and visual thumbnails of the top search results. Mobile users can share content through email, Pinterest or Twitter, if that's their inclination. Axis is ready and free to use as of today, although Android users won't get their turn until closer to the end of the year.

Engadget had a chance to give Axis a quick spin, and we largely like what we see, even if we'd say it's not for everyone. The desktop browser extension largely stays out of your way until you need it, although we're surprised the social sharing elements are left out. On the mobile side, it's effectively a full, tabbed web browser, and a fairly solid (if simple) one at that. Most of the advantage comes through having the deeper search options just a pull away. Our issues mostly stem from the need for the app and the ecosystem it's leaping into. If you already thrive on (or want to try) services like Instapaper or Pocket, you're not going to get significantly more here, especially since you can't save content offline. Choosing iOS also means you can't make Axis your default browser, so any links you get from other apps can't be directly shared with Yahoo's mobile app.

Gallery: Yahoo Axis | 6 Photos

Engadget’s parent company, Verizon, now owns Yahoo. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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