How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?

How will Google Instant change your search habits? More importantly, how does Google Instant adapt to your queries? We conducted our own experiment.

So now that we've determined that Google Instant is a time saver, giving back anywhere from 8.3 minutes to 20.8 minutes per week to users who conduct 50 Google searches per day, Larry Dignan and I started to have some fun, experimenting with the searches themselves.

Also: Meet Google Instant: Results as queries are typed

Google said the rankings don't change using Instant - but we tried to figure out whether the search was customized for users based on personal history (for Google account holders who are logged on) or location based. Our conclusion: location matters.

For example, Larry, who is based in the Philadelphia-New York area, typed in "EA" and saw results that led with "Eagles," as in the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

Being out here in Silicon Valley, California, I saw results that made more sense, leading off with "Earthquake":

Does that mean that personal search history has nothing to do with the results? I definitely wouldn't go that far - but I do put more weight on the location-based impact. When I logged out of my Google account and conducted the same searches, the results were the same.

Certainly, our own queries add to Google's database of popular searches, allowing the company to build in that prediction technology. But what does that mean to your own privacy? What about search engine optimization? Is Google Instant really the end of SEO?

It seems too premature to make any quick judgments about Google Instant. After all, it's only been live for a couple of hours. Try your own experiments with Google Instant and let us know your conclusions. I suspect this will be another one of those love-it-or-hate-it types of tools.


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