Google Instant: An instant hit

Google Instant: An instant hit

Summary: After a short time, it's apparent this is one of those features, which after a month of use, will make you wonder how you lived without it. That means using a search engine like Bing will feel pretty old school in short order.

TOPICS: Browser, Google

You know you have done something right when pretty much the whole internet is buzzing with excitement over a new feature. Generally, when Google launches something, you get a healthy percentage of people who don't like it for particular reasons. It seems like too often that's my attitude towards things these days.

Google Instant, however, is a feature that I absolutely love -- and I'm not alone. This new feature is a really huge improvement in search. It might make some SEO companies nervous, but for the average consumer, it's a delight to use. What we are seeing is the same reaction people had when they saw Google Maps for the first time, or Gmail -- generally positive, and people see the value in it right away.

If you aren't already familiar with what Google Instant is, it's basically a combination of Google Suggest (the search recommendations while you type), and live search results for those recommended queries. Your enter key is all but useless when using the new search interface. One great example of how the new search capabilities work is when searching for the current weather conditions. Type "w", and in most cases Google will predict that you are typing "weather", and it already knows where you live, so it shows you weather for your current location. Pretty slick.

It's going to be interesting to see how competing search engines respond to this new feature. If not implemented correctly, and with enough care, it could easily add about 20x more search traffic overnight -- Google is basically doing a search for every letter you type. With this kind of load, it could easily "melt your data centers" as Google put it today.

After a short time, I can already tell that this is one of those features, which after a month of use, you will wonder how you lived without it. That means using a search engine like Bing will feel pretty old school in short order.

Do you have a different opinion? Let's hear it in the TalkBack!

Topics: Browser, Google

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  • An instant annoyance rather

    Google seems to have lost its way. What will people do with this instant search? For example, if I want to start searching for "linux", as I go on typing, I am getting search results ranging from Lowe's, Limewire, Linkedin, None of that is actually relevant, and all the interim search results are more of an annoyance.
    • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

      @nishsingh True, but it still saves you time -- by the time you are finished typing "Linux" your results are waiting for you... without hitting enter, or the search button.

      In this case, it may not have saved you a lot of time, but it's the type of feature that most users will get used to (and expect) really fast.
      • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit


        It saves me hitting search button. Wow! That's almost magical right there...
    • I just tested this...


      ...and the results didn't actually appear until I had finished typing "linux", Google was predicting my search with the suggested search, but not displaying results until I reached x.

      Are you getting confused with Suggested Searches which Bing also has?
      • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit


        I am wondering now, how did this help you? If you got the results you wanted on "Linux' after you reached x, it just saves you hitting enter.
        For people with slow typing speeds the interim results don't have any relevance, for people with fast typing speeds (like you) it just probably saves you hitting enter. Either way its no big deal.
      • @nishsingh Yes, I'd agree with you...

        ...that it probably will save me minimal time. Personally I like it as a engineering / programming feat, and as I use it more I'll see if it actually speeds up searching for me.

        But as you said, if you type slow I can imagine it will probably just get on your nerves.
    • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit


      Very annoying. I usually type faster than these search engines suggest, and Google doesn't suggest what I'm actually trying to search for. Doesn't save any time.
      Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

      @nishsingh I think this is great... sometimes yo don't know the right term to search for or another aspect of your search term which will get better results. Google uses your location, previous search terms used by you and overall popularity of search terms in presenting the various choices. I find it fascinating and quite helpfull. From Google's point of view, it will definetly increase the number of searches and therefore, number of ads people see.. a stroke of genius that MS will find impossible to copy.
      • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit


        Actually, it will hurt overall advertising for Google. I quote from Paul Thurrott, who wrote this on Windows IT Pro:
        "Still unresolved is how this new feature will change online advertising. Currently, businesses purchase web ads that target specific queries. But because Google users are getting results quicker than ever, they might never get to more complex queries. The result could be less business, especially for smaller businesses that can't afford to advertise against simpler, more popular search terms."
  • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

    Sorry but I hate it. Flying blinking masses of text on the page while I'm trying to type out a thought to ask it? Predictive text is nice on a smart phone, predictive searches on a pc?.?.? No thank you.
  • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

    I don't like Google Instant either. Maybe it's because I have ADHD, or maybe it's just a simple matter of preference (i.e. why do some folks prefer apples & some oranges?) but I find Google Instant to be VERY distracting! When I'm typing in a word, key words, a name or a phrase, the LAST thing I want to see is text that keeps jumping around and changing as I type... and changing right below the line where I'm typing, no less! It's so distracting & annoying I can't even describe it. :(

    I also strongly agree w/ the point made by nishsingh -- if I'm starting to type "Li" for "Linux", for example, why on earth would I want to see a bunch of popular search results starting w/ those same letters, such as LinkedIn or Limewire? Totally irrelevant! (Not to mention distracting). Maybe if Google Instant waited until you at least typed a FEW LETTERS before jumping in w/ its "instant" suggestions, that would be tolerable. But like this? No thank you! Sorry. :( I truly am glad this new feature is helping a lot of people, but I'm just as glad that it's easy to turn it OFF!

    Shari in California
  • Annoying

    <b>I really mean it.</b>
  • Personally....I love it!

    How much time it will safe, right now I don't know I haven't used it much yet! But just a feature it has great potential!

    As for people complaining about other searches like LinkedIn etc appearing before you finish typing "Linux", all I can say is that you must be typing with one finger!

    I know people have different typing speeds, but I'd have thought that anyone who uses a computer regularly, i.e. the readers of this blog, I'd have thought they'd type pretty fast.

    IMO people are just trying to pick holes in because it's Google.

    If you don't like, switch it off!


    Is this going to be included in Chrome's address bar search? I usually just type straight into there rather than going to Google straight away.


    Since using it more and running consecutive searches I've found that the initial search is slow to start predicting. But after that it will predict from the first letter I type which shows the same behaviour as other people have reported.

    I apologise for disagreeing with you, but I am blaming the bad net connection where I am right now! ;-)

    But I still love this feature even if it does predict a little too early!
    • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

      @DevJonny : Hi! I just wanted to address 2 of your comments which, while they may apply to some folks, do NOT apply to me even remotely....

      First: I'm an extremely fast touch-typist, so my complaint about irrelevant search results popping up while I'm typing has nothing to do w/ your assumption that complainers must be one-finger typists. I'm just very easily distracted and I find the whole "instant" feature SUPER annoying. Every time the text jumps around & changes, I see it even if I'm not looking at it & it messes up my train of thought. Like I said, maybe it's an ADHD thing. Or maybe it's just a Shari thing. *shrug* But I truly can't stand it.

      Second: I have always loved Google and I still love Google. Almost everyone I know loves Google. So I really don't understand AT ALL your comment that "people are just trying to pick holes in it because it's Google." I don't like trying to pick holes in anyone or anything; I'm am optimist so that kind of thing just brings me down. So yeah, your hole-picking assumption is so off-base for me and the majority of my friends that it actually made me giggle.

      Nothing personal. Just pointing out what can sometimes happen when you "ass-u-me". ;)
      • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

        @scaryshari agree
      • Fair do's! I'm not going to argue! :)


        That's fair enough, we have different opinions. I appreciate you not going off on one at me for having my own opinion! :)

        As for the speed thing I've added an update to my post regarding that since I've been using it more.

        As for my comment about people picking holes in Google. You can't disagree, it happens a lot of the time here! Whether it's search, Chrome, Android. As soon as Google is mention it's Bing's better, privacy this, security that.

        I generalised to much there, and I apologise. :)
      • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit


        Agree double.
  • I turned it off

    Not totally impressed with it, like others have said, most of the time it just saves me from smacking the 'enter' key. Nothing terribly fascinating to get excited over. And nothing to keep me from using other engines.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Bing w/ HTML 5

    MS presented something similar based on HTML 5 about a year ago. And it looks very nice...
  • RE: Google Instant: An instant hit

    I find it so annoying that I turned it off! Also I'm wondering why it is supposed to be such a big deal; web developers have been messing with this type of ajax stuff for years. For people who are still on dialup, this "feature" must be a terrible waste of time and bandwidth.
    Improper Username