Google Instant - Practically made for mobile

Google Instant is useful on the desktop, but I often just search from my address bar instead of going to Google.com.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

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.

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