Google Instant, Search Faster than You Type

By Lucian Parfeni   September 8th, 2010 20:18 GMT

Google's big announcement turned out to be what everyone was expecting, dubbed Google Instant, the new streaming search results feature is now live at the main Google site and for several localized versions as well.

Google says that the idea is not a new one. In fact, it was toying with "search-as-you-type" results back in 1999 when it built its first demo. It tried again in 2003.

But Google realized that "search-as-you-type" is not what people want. What people want is "search-before-you-type," they want results for the query they're about to search not for what they've written so far.

"As you can imagine, searching even before someone types isn’t easy — which is why we are so excited today to be unveiling Google Instant. Google Instant is search-before-you-type," Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience, wrote.

"Instant takes what you have typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real-time for those predictions — yielding a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful," she added.

The new feature needs to be experienced to be understood the best. It's likely that people will be reluctant at first, but once they get accustomed, they'll see the advantages of being able to refine a search without having to load a new page.

Google Instant is now live in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the U.K and, of course, on Google.com. However, for now, it only works with Firefox, Chrome and IE8. Google has promised to roll out the feature in all countries and for all browsers.

It will also be available for the mobile versions of the site later this year. And, in case you find it distracting, you can disable it and return to the regular search. You should probably give it a chance though.

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