Google Instant

So today the search giant decided to throw the search world in to a bit of a spin with a controversial new approach to delivering a search experience with [URL=“”]Google Instant.


I was almost tempted to describe this as a radical change, but there have been a number of recent tweaks to the way Google (and even Yahoo!/[URL=“”]Bing) tried to [URL=“”]predictively or smartly speed up the search process, with Instant being hinted at as recently as a week ago.

In today’s product launch, Google VP Marissa Mayer stated that their latest initiative will save 350 million hours of wasted search time with Google Instant. In describing the product she stated:

Our search-as-you-type demos were thought-provoking - fun, fast and interactive - but fundamentally flawed. Why? Because you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]). You really want search-before-you-type - that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.

Already the search community is divided (change seems to have that affect), with some declaring the [URL=“”]death of SEO, while [URL=“”]others are taking a more [URL=“”]pragmatic [URL=“”]approach. Googler [URL=“”]Matt Cutts also chimed in with his thoughts. What a lot of people are not stepping back and observing, is as [URL=“”]Chris Chrum states:

Google clearly said that ranking stays the same with Google Instant, but it will change the way people search. It will affect their search behavior, and that is what search marketers are going to have to think about more than ever.

So this really isn’t about SEO, or SEM (although it will most likely impact both) - it’s about user experience and delivering that in the best way possible. What this probably will impact more, is the expectations that consumers will have when it comes to search in general. Websites that have a search box, will be implicitly expected by consumers to behave the way they do on Google/Bing/Yahoo.

More reading:

Not a bad thing, sometimes it can enhance what you’re looking for, and find specific terms. Maybe it wouldn’t be too good if people were too reliant on it.

No, the curiosity issue is when you start out searching for one thing, but because you get half-*ssed results as you go, you get distracted by something unrelated to your search and you end up spending hours “encyclopedia surfing” before remembering you were supposed to look up something.

As you go through an encyclodpedia or dictionary, you see lots of other interesting words while you try to spell-search your term. The result is you never quite get to your search term.

the curiosity factor that poes mentions is not really a bad thing

Not a bad thing, sometimes it can enhance what you’re looking for, and find specific terms. Maybe it wouldn’t be too good if people were too reliant on it.

I do see a potential problem with Instant Google, and this problem lies anywhere beyond the first page. People would prefer simply typing something new and seeing Google do it’s magic that possibly going to the 2nd and 3rd pages to see if they can find what they want. To be honest I rarely go beyond page 1. Only if I am super-desperate.

I’m probably one of the not-so-few people that suffer from the total inability of finding anything worthwhile with google, mostly because I can’t pick the right words for what I want.

It’s called google-fu.

Seems so, though they rolled out that retarded left-hand sidebar domain by domain, so it’s probably slowly cycling over to the other domains as we speak.

Google instant is great for people who can’t type very good, but for me looking for things on google it just drives me insane. I spent a lot of time trying to target keywords people would think about, but now with google instant people will type something and they will get a list of other options which will take away from some of my potential traffic. still does not work, but the up side is that I can finally get ve0h to work. Thanks :stuck_out_tongue:

for easy accss to us google just install hotspotshield it will give u a us ip.

It’s not disputable?? Uh, if actual user testing data shows this to be untrue, then it’s certainly disputable.

All this is going to do is discourage people even further from looking beyond the first page of results.

Instant may make this behaviour worse, but currently everyone in my office who I’ve asked only looks at the first page currently anyway. Without Instant. It may reinforce behaviour, but it’s not the cause.

In the Netherlands I used to be able to type in and get the US site. Lately they’ve reinforced their geo-location crap and now even is redirected to (which has inferior results for HTML/CSS/Javascript searches). Now I have to choose the “search google in English” link, which you likely don’t have.
Strangely enough, I can type in and get that one without redirection.

I suggest if google is always redirecting you, to get some anti-redirect software (there are some plugins out there in the security section that can block and selectively allow redirects for geo, tinyURL and forums. (Sitepoint’s redirect when I log in is blocked by NoScript, but it doesn’t block the internal Google one… but I’ve seen other plugins, and likely Opera can stop redirects itself)).

Yup. Users are lazy. There’s already a How-To discussion on the orca mailing list on how to turn off Instant until they can figure out how to make it usable for orca users. If it were no problem, there wouldn’t have to be how-to’s.

BTW if anyone else is thinking of posting more screenshots, pls do it as cheesedude did and scale it down a bit. I can deal with scrollbars but grabbing it to read individual lines in someone’s post is annoying… try to keep them as small as reasonably possible.
Clean up with a sharpen tool in your image editor if necessary.

I kind of have to agree. People don’t normally go out of their way to turn something on or off. But I don’t agree with you stating that it tries to steer Google to it’s own properties.

I types in sitepoint, and on each character types it returned inbiased results based on what people want. For instance ‘s’ came with ‘skype’, ‘si’ came with ‘sign in’, which returns - Microsoft’s, and it goes on.

I don’t think Google is trying to encourage it’s own results first. You have to understand Google is huge, so naturally it will be high up in the search engines.

Having said that, I honestly feel that Google did not pervert this feature, and I am fairly adamant that if another search engine incorporated this feature they would feel the need to sell their products.

Off Topic:

What would an Apple Search Engine be like? I would dread to think!

Hey, nice example. You typed in 6 of 9 letters in “Sitepoint” and it returned Sitepoint in the first result. Good job. :goof:

Let’s look at what happens as you type in the word “sitepoint”:

Even before you can type the “p” in “Sitepoint” Google is trying to steer people to one of its own properties!

As you can clearly see in this case, Google “instant” is of absolutely no benefit. Most people who search for “sitepoint” are not going to be interested in anything about the “Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service”.

Not only that, but of the 5 results visible in my browser window, 2 of the 5 (40%) are trying to steer me to Google’s own properties.

If this doesn’t prove how stupid and useless Google instant is, well, there is no convincing you.

As it is on by default, most people will not turn it off. Not any more than people would turn it on if it was off by default. That is why it is on by default!

I have Google UK and it works fine for me. You have to be registered though to Google and have a Google Account, and your instant will work automatically.

Whilst in the UK and struggle to access the Google US site, so I am not sure how you gained access to the US site, but if you know please let me know. It’s something I have been trying to do for ages. It seems to redirect me to the UK version from the .com version, and even from the .us version.

Except for the fact that all of the results don’t appear in the browser window and the searcher may actually find what he’s looking on page 2, but will no longer find it at all because Google has supplanted his natural search with suggestions of their own.

That much is true. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it can be beneficial. Otherwise, it is just steering people away from what they were looking for.

No, it is not.

100% agreed. Everyone has their own style of searching. The suggestions for search phrases and certainly “google instant” (which is crap) are going to supplant individual searches leaving less unique search phrases and thus less traffic for everyone except the currently highly ranked sites. This is not disputable.

Factor in Google Caffeine killing traffic for long tail phrases (such as I was relying on for a site) and it is going to be the death knell for many sites.

Before it was type your search phrase, hit enter, then view and evaluate the results. All this is going to do is discourage people even further from looking beyond the first page of results. Some people will erroneously believe there is no reason to look beyond the first page. Others will be distracted by the constantly updating results with every letter typed (only the top 4 show in with my monitor resolution setting).

On one site before that stupid “google instant” started I was getting about 200 visitors per day from Google. Now I am averaging about 35 visitors.

All I have to say is I hope you Google lovers out there who believe Google can do no wrong see your traffic crash to next to nothing. You deserve it.

A wide range of opinions here on Google Instant. It will certainly take some getting use to.

My searching feels a lot faster. thanks guys!

Thanks to seriocomic for sharing this valuable information.
Reilly Google instant will helps in searching.Its a great idea of helping people to get the results quicker.

I guess it is to soon to tell but … for the moment, the impact is nill :slight_smile:

Google Instant seems to be interfering with the Orca screen reader for Gnome/Linux : (

I wonder if changing Firefox’ user agent string to “Opera” would help : )

Will people change their keyword phrase because Google instant suggests a similar phrase as soon as you typed in the first few words? If more people do that, popular keyword phrase will become more popular, which means the decreasing importance of ‘long tail’ keywords. This will make life more difficult for small websites.