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

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

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

TOPICS: Google, Browser

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.

Topics: Google, Browser

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

    It changes the search experience alright, it makes it much more annoying to use.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?

      @Loverock Davidson

      I actually can't argue with that. I fear that a single typo might cost me my job without my chance to press enter. I think I will either turn the feature off or go use a different search engine.
      • Google runs a black list, so Not Safe For Work terms won't appear unless...

        @nucrash press enter!
      • RE: How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?


        Have you tried it? It searches as you type. WIthout having to press enter. So what do you mean?
      • Amazing How Many Microcrap Windows Users Can't Use Something SIMPLE! haha

        @nucrash It not hard to see that a bunch of Moronic Softy Fantoids can't stand the fact that Google keeps advancing Search Technology while Bing/Yahoo flounder about at the bottom of the barrel. No wonder Google controls 70% of the Search Market! :O

        But... hey, it at least proves only about
        30% of the World's population are too stupid to use Google's Instant Search. Kind of takes me back to when first Microwaves came out and the idiots who couldn't understand how to run them either! lolz..... gee I guess it's too hard to press enter if you want something different! ;)
  • End of "SEO"?

    No...there will still be optimizations ran, even on Google Instant, to attempt to make a users searches relevant.
  • Being here in S. Florida

    I typed EA and the results led with "EarthLink" lol

    When I looked up EarthLink headquarters it showed the location being Orlando Florida. Location certainly matters.
    • RE: How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?

      @dave95. so,,, you were wondering how Google makes money,,, It is not just straightforward flashing ads that come on the same page as the search results. These are the results themselves that make money. Or should we consider this as optimization of the results to improve the user's experience?
  • I hope it is not tied to the history of the person searching...

    ... or else all my porn watching tendencies may show up
    Roque Mocan
    • RE: How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?

      @Roque Mocan
      Don't sweat it, I think a lot of people are curious what to do with a pineapple and a midget.
      Loverock Davidson
      • Rimshot

        @Loverock Davidson

        In more ways than one. :x
  • Also, I think this will waste bandwidth...

    ... because it is bringing me useless results until I write what I really want. So, Spam consumes x % of the Internet. And now this feature will consume y %
    Roque Mocan
  • Waiting for Bing to copy this..... then all the Bingnuts can agree on just how amazing it is.
    • Just as Google copied...


      The left pane categories on the results page, the infinitely scrolling image search results, the homepage image?

      I can understand how hard it is for you to accept that...
  • RE: How does Google Instant adapt to users? And does it change the search experience?

    Fancy but... I don't like it. What's the big deal? So I don't have to press Enter. It's actually unappealing to the eye because it's flashing results to you as you type. Makes me kinda dizzy. I'll stick with Bing. kthxbye
  • Garbage

    It looks like Google wants to give you the worst possible search experience. Time to move over to Yahoo/Bing.
  • Question is still, did the ranking *change*

    I wonder whether the location-based ranking is related to Instant Search at all. The Suggestions drop-down that Google had previously surely worked the same way.

    This all seems to be a different presentation of the same data. Everything you see now, you could see before. It's just that you don't have to click Search yourself.
  • Is this new?

    Anyone with Google's Chrome web browser can tell you that this already sort of happens when using Chrome. As you type into the URL bar, it begins to search and has some options available to select as you type. I don't see it as anything new at all. Maybe that's because I use Chrome from time to time.
    • Speaking of Chrome...

      Although you're referring to the search query automation function in Chrome, it would be nice to see the Google (or your managed search provider) homepage pop up as you start to type your query in the address/search bar with results like GI.

      That would take a while, I'm sure, but with this new feature, I'm of the ilk that believes anything is possible with these guys and their seemingly limitless server farms...

      Happy Posting!!
  • It always seems bad when it's different

    Like Office 2007, this will not be used until people feel comfortable with it. The only issue I'm finding are people who are still on dialup and cannot retrieve the data instantly. Sure it's only javascript, but the user still has to spend time to download the data.

    Oh, high speed? Well neither cable or DSL is available for them, unless they go with HugesNet satellite which is just a faster modem.