Google’s research and development teams invest a significant amount of time finding new ways to simplify the user experience. A fade-in effect was recently implemented on the search engine which hides less important links until you need them.
“Predictive search” is the company’s most ambitious feature to date. Amazingly, it removes the need for a search box altogether. Google’s algorithms have been monitoring your activities for the past 12 years and the system can accurately predict where you want to go before you enter it.
Google will be launching predictive search later today, but SitePoint can reveal exclusive information about the feature. When visiting Google.com, you will be presented with just the logo and a “Go” button:
“Go” is effectively the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button without the search input box. Once you click it, you’ll be taken to a relevent website based on AI-analysis of your historical surfing behavior.
The standard input box and buttons appear as soon as you begin to type a normal search term:
Predictive search, known internally as the Fast Optimally-Organized Link System, is one of Google’s most secretive projects. The team leader spoke to us from his secluded underground bunker beneath a dormant volcano:
Most people have predictable surfing habits. The average user will start the day checking their Facebook inbox. At lunchtime, they’ll update their Facebook status and send messages to friends. They’ll then play FarmVille or Mafia Wars in the evening. On Facebook.
Our system has a 98.4% accuracy rate. We know who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, what you want, and when you want it.
Have you tried predictive search? Were your results accurate? Does it raise serious privacy concerns?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.