Yahoo has decided to get into the browser business by launching a beta version of their new browser called Axis. Axis attempts to combine a search engine and a browser into one, eliminating the middle step between search results and web page. Instead of entering a query, seeing a results page, and going to a page of your choice, Axis allows you to go from query to page instead of wading through a sea of links.

Axis doesn’t exactly come through on its promise; you still have to browse results to get the page you want. However, the way it allows you to search and then view the results is revolutionary and clever. Instead of bringing you to a page of links, Axis gives you a separate bar at the top with pictures of all of the front pages of your search results. You can click on one to make it the “main window”, or you can push the first search result aside to bring up the next in line. Of course, you can only do that on your phone. If you want to use Axis on your computer, there are available plugins for Chrome, IE, and Firefox that gives the user similar control.

Yahoo has been struggling the past few years, and this is quite the leap of faith for the company. Yahoo still generates a hefty amount of their income – around a billion dollars a year – from running ads on the sidebars of their search result pages. Axis completely eliminates that page, and thus that income. There is still a list of results in the form of thumbnails, and ads will likely be inserted into the list of search titles. For now, it’s quite the risk for Yahoo because of the likelihood of reduced income for the company. The search engine only just began to recover last quarter after years and years of losses.

However, focusing on the customer and less on the ad revenue is rarely a bad choice.

The Android version of Axis isn’t available yet, and may not ever be because of obvious competition, but Yahoo reports they are still going to attempt to work out a deal so the mobile version of Chrome can enjoy an Axis add-on.