"If they can pull this off, it could help put them back on the map," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "I think it is the best idea I've seen out of them in nearly a decade."
Yahoo saw a niche it could take advantage of and then executed on it, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
"With Google owning generic and mobile search, and Bing in the position to own social search, Yahoo needed something that distinguished itself from the pack," he said.
However, the launch of Axis could be more than a game changer just for Yahoo. It could be a gamer changer in the overall search market.
"I think the Yahoo visual search capabilities are more in line with the post-PC era," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "Being able to look at an image that comes up from search criteria is much faster and optimized for touch... I think it creates an alternative to Google and Bing and that itself is a threat. We'll see how they respond, but it's the most unique thing I've seen from Yahoo in a long time."
Moorhead noted that visual search could be a problem for Google and Bing because it's a departure from the norm. "It breaks their user models," he added. "Yahoo can score immediate points with the fact they are even doing something unique. If Yahoo can develop a strong following with any demographic, they have won some ground."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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