Google unveils future of search – it’s instant and predictive


9 Sep 2010

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Why is it the internet’s fortunes seem to revolve around the theme of coffee? Whether it’s Java or projects code-named ‘Cafeine’. Search doyen Google’s latest ground-breaking move is called ‘Instant’, and it shouldn’t take too long to percolate.

That’s right, Google Instant is probably the most dramatic change the company has made to its search formula – a search-before-you-type feature that predicts what you are looking for.

“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,” Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience at Google said in the company’s blog.

The core features in Google Instant are as follows:

  • Dynamic results – Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
  • Predictions – One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that we predict the rest of your query (in light grey text) before you finish typing. See what you need? Stop typing, look down and find what you’re looking for.
  • Scroll to search – Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down.

“To bring Google Instant to life, we needed a host of new technologies, including new caching systems, the ability to adaptively control the rate at which we show results pages and an optimisation of page-rendering JavaScript to help web browsers keep up with the rest of the system.

“In the end, we needed to produce a system that was able to scale while searching as fast as people can type and think — all while maintaining the relevance and simplicity people expect from Google.”

Mayer said the user benefits of Google Instant are many — but the primary one is time saved.

“Our testing has shown that Google Instant saves the average searcher two to five seconds per search. That may not seem like a lot at first, but it adds up. With Google Instant, we estimate that we’ll save our users 11 hours with each passing second!”

Google Instant will become the core search experience on Google.com for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8.

“We’ll also be offering Google Instant to our users in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK who are signed in and have Instant-capable browsers. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll work to roll out Google Instant to all geographies and platforms,” she said.