Google Instant - Practically made for mobile

Google Instant - Practically made for mobile

Summary: Google Instant is useful on the desktop, but I often just search from my address bar instead of going to Google.com.

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Google Instant is useful on the desktop, but I often just search from my address bar instead of going to Google.com. Useful is probably a pretty big understatement, but a decent broadband connection yields snappy searches on Google regardless. Fire up Instant Search on a mobile browser, though, and you have something so fast that it's, err, Instant.

I don't mean to be flip. Instant on a mobile browser speeds up search so drastically, especially on mediocre connections where search results can be painful to load, that you may never go back to searching from an app, widget, or your mobile browser address bar. With one sad little bar of 3G, I was actually startled when my browser screen filled with search results that updated themselves as I typed a query. Here's a video from Google's blog post Thursday about mobile Instant Search:

If anyone were to ask me (and, unfortunately, they haven't), I'd tell Google that this is the sort of technology on which they should be focusing, rather than legal debacles over Street View. This is why people go to Google, no matter which device they might be using: fast, convenient, accurate, predictive search.

As Google noted in their post about mobile Instant,

With Google Instant on mobile, we’re pushing the limits of mobile browsers and wireless networks. You will probably notice a big improvement in speed when you search thanks to a new AJAX and HTML5 implementation for mobile that dynamically updates the page with new results and eliminates the need to load a new page for each query.

Google Instant for mobile works best on 3G and WiFi networks, but since the quality of any wireless connection can fluctuate, we’ve made it easy to enable or disable Google Instant without ever leaving the page. Just tap the “Turn on” or “Turn off” link.

Unfortunately, this enhanced search is only available on devices running Apple's iOS 4.0 and above and Android 2.2 in the United States. Everyone else is out of luck for now. Like most things Google, it's only in beta, but google.com is now the homepage on my mobile browser. I even set Skyfire's user agent to Android instead of Desktop where it's been since I downloaded the browser, so that google.com would surface the link to turn on Instant.

Now if Google could just put Buzz, Wave, and Street View behind them and do more great things like this, they'd have a lot fewer legal hassles and a lot more enthusiastic (rather than default, since Google simply is search to most people) users.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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5 comments
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  • I don't get it / Do get it

    I still don't get it. Google instant just seems like a distraction to me, I'm not going to swing my eyes down the list, part-way through typing my search to see if potential targets are already there.

    And I'm not running some sort of interactive query process when I'm typing, where my typing is affected by the previously shown result.

    I guess it's because I can type, and my reading and analysis is far slower than the time it takes to type the query into the search box.

    But I DO see how mobile instant search can work, because, I can't yet type as fast on a tiny screen as fast as I type on a computer.

    There's an interesting study to be made here. I notice that people acquire compound skills when they only do those compound things. For example Eclipse programmers tend to always assume that typing { will also create the closing } and you see them struggle if I switch off the auto close brace feature.

    So users of Google instant on mobile may over time learn a type-interact-with-result-type-some-more skill and instead of learning to type quickly, they'll learn a compound Google skill instead.
    guihombre
    • RE: Google Instant - Practically made for mobile

      @guihombre

      I agree the instant search is a pain in the #ss. Yeah you can turn it off but you have to remember to do that and that is not user friendly or helpful in my book
      MLHACK
  • Dropping Wave sure but...

    I for one love Google for all the zaney side products that they deliver to consumers. Street view is awesome, beside legal trouble, I now always "walk" around a town i am heading to. When in a city and using walking navigation, street view is awesome. If I am not sure what kind of neighborhood I am ending up with, i use street view. And what all the bad hype with Buzz. It pretty good and until FB groups, I like being able to post to discrete circles.
    jivester
  • RE: Google Instant - Practically made for mobile

    I have disabled google instant on all my browsers and computers. Don't care for it all. ::::oh wow man, like ajax, wow::::
    Improper Username
  • Pure journalism - no field knowledge required

    "Now if Google could just put Buzz, Wave, and Street View behind them and do more great things like this, theyd have a lot fewer legal hassles and a lot more enthusiastic users"<br><br>ZDNet used to be a serious resource but more and more it publishes disinformation and absolutely ungrounded articles. As fellow Buzzer stated, "dont knock it until youve tried it".<br><br>What does author of this article propose to do with current 5+ millions of Google Buzz users which are participating in in-depth discussions with their friends around the world? This number is steadily growing, by the way, according to Google statistic. There is simply no comparable quality discussion tool on the net currently.<br><br><a href="http://www.google.com/profiles/vkelman" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.google.com/profiles/vkelman</a>
    vkelman@...