Google Instant - results before you want them

By Kshitij Sobti | Published on Jan 01 1970
Google Instant - results before you want them

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If you thought Google Suggest was great, then wait till you try out Google Instant. Google Suggest is wonderful if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for, and how it’s spelled. With suggest you get tiny bits of insight into what the query should look like, how others have constructed similar queries, and what possible additional keywords you could add to make your results better.

However what can give you a better idea of what your results will look like than the results themselves?

Google Instant takes it to the next level, but not only providing suggestions as usual, but also giving you the search results for your query as you type it. Google’s research shows that people are quicker at reading than typing by a factor of 10, which means that if you get the result you want at your third keystroke you will save time by not having to type the entire phrase.

As an example, in your normal Google Search, you will have to type “facebook” in order to find results for the social network, with the site itself first. If you have enabled Google Instant you will get the search result for “facebook” the second you type “f”! Of course, you might have been looking just for “f” but to get that result all you need to do is press esc or enter. At this point you will also get suggestions for “facebook”, “facebook login”, “firefox” etc. You can select any from the list, or press the right key or tab to autocomplete your “f” to “facebook”. Or you can simply click on the result as it is right there before you.

If you then go on to press “o” after “f” making the query “fo” it will show results for the most popular query starting with “fo” namely “Fox News”, while giving other queries with “fo” as suggestions (“ford”, “food network” etc).

In fact, Google’s new search system works well even with the inbuilt calculator. If you didn’t already know, Google Search includes a calculator; if you enter a query such as “33 / 11” it will return the result of that calculation before any other search results that might match the query. We are pleased to say that Google still returns the correct answer when you search for “answer to life the universe and everything”. What this means is that Google’s calculation functionality is now even more useful as it returns instant results.

How useful you find Google Instant will depend greatly on how you search and what you search for, however, it is unlikely that it will hamper your experience with Google anyway, since the old way of search is still around. Google seems to be investing a lot of effort into making its services realtime, but that it not all. Google has set its aims high, aiming to one day perhaps make a search system which gives you results before you even know you want them.

Kshitij Sobti

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