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Google Instant goes live

Google Instant goes live

Google Instant saves, the company claims, between two and five seconds per search.

By now you've probably already noticed that there's something different about Google's search page: it's started giving you your results before you've even finished typing.

In a move that builds on the company's experience with auto-suggestions, where partial text matches would be compared to previous searches to guess what you might be searching for, Google has gone to the next level; start typing your query on the Google homepage and you'll instantly start seeing a list of results.

It's a neat idea, and one that demonstrates the power and scalability of Google's platform. We all know that Google searches untold billions of pages incredibly quickly, but there's knowing it and there's seeing it happen in real time right before your eyes.

Dubbed Google Instant, and having been hinted at with a colour-changing logo over the last few days, it's a feature not without its critics. Search engine optimisation pundits, in particular, are concerned that the feature could render their entire business obsolete. Steve Rubel, of Edelman Digital, posted to his personal blog the opinion that "what [Google] really did [with Google Instant] is kill SEO" - a sentiment shared by many in the PR and SEO industries.

Google, for its part, is full of confidence that Google Instant will make people's lives better. Based on a saving of 2-5 seconds per search, the company claims that global use of the service could save "more than 3.5 billion seconds a day - that's 11 hours saved every second."

For those who aren't convinced about the new functionality, there's good news: there's a link to disable Google Instant on each search page, or it can be toggled in your Preferences.

Whether Google Instant proves to be a success, or just a way for the company to show off the power and speed of its search platform remains to be seen.

Have you played with Google Instant, and if so, what's your opinion? Does it really save you time, or are you distracted by the constantly shifting results screen? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

32 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
mi1ez 9th September 2010, 09:38 Quote
Not seen it yet, but looking forward to it. Not really necessary, but there you go!
adam_bagpuss 9th September 2010, 09:50 Quote
lol hasnt been implemented for .co.uk though only .com
Cthippo 9th September 2010, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
"what [Google] really did [with Google Instant] is kill SEO" - a sentiment shared by many in the PR and SEO industries.

And the problem with this is???

I have little sympathy for people who make a living gaming the system
iwog 9th September 2010, 09:58 Quote
and drove me insane last night when it started changing the results as I was typing.
steveo_mcg 9th September 2010, 10:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
And the problem with this is???

I have little sympathy for people who make a living gaming the system

Don't you know Google the world owes these people a living....
Blademrk 9th September 2010, 10:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_bagpuss
lol hasnt been implemented for .co.uk though only .com

? it worked on .co.uk just now.
Phalanx 9th September 2010, 10:11 Quote
Me likey.
eddtox 9th September 2010, 10:20 Quote
I like it!
I'm not sure I like it enough to forego the use of firefox's search bar ( and by the way it doesn't work with firefox's default homepage.
As for SEO, I've always considered it a tad on the wrong side of shady.
perplekks45 9th September 2010, 10:40 Quote
Great, getting redirected to .at and it's not activated yet. Thank you very much... :(
impar 9th September 2010, 11:46 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
Have you played with Google Instant, and if so, what's your opinion? Does it really save you time, or are you distracted by the constantly shifting results screen? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
Doesnt affect me. I use the address bar to search, dont really know why browsers still use the search bar...
TWeaK 9th September 2010, 12:03 Quote
Don't think I can see it here at work, but then we're still on IE6 :(
[- pio -] 9th September 2010, 12:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
Have you played with Google Instant, and if so, what's your opinion? Does it really save you time, or are you distracted by the constantly shifting results screen? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
Doesnt affect me. I use the address bar to search, dont really know why browsers still use the search bar...
It's coming to address bar/search bar later this year.. Don't really know how they're going to pull that off without it being annoying though.
impar 9th September 2010, 12:29 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by [- pio -]
It's coming to address bar/search bar later this year.. Don't really know how they're going to pull that off without it being annoying though.

And messing Firefox Awesome Bar!
BRAWL 9th September 2010, 12:33 Quote
Personally I find such a thing pointless, I have about 4/5 tabs open on firefox each time, if google is one tab then I'll search for something and wander off to something else for a moment or two. Come back to it... so personally, I wouldn't use something like this.

Good idea mind! Probably shave a few minutes off searching for stuff at work occassionally mind!
crazyceo 9th September 2010, 12:53 Quote
I've read elsewhere that searches are popping up with all kinds of completely none relevant sites and wasting your time anyway because you spend those few seconds saved reading what other crap its come up with.

Just a knee jerk reaction to Bing me thinks.....
itazura 9th September 2010, 12:54 Quote
i'm not too keen on it, i have to admit. at least i can just disable it.
Fizzban 9th September 2010, 13:19 Quote
-ignore-
javaman 9th September 2010, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I've read elsewhere that searches are popping up with all kinds of completely none relevant sites and wasting your time anyway because you spend those few seconds saved reading what other crap its come up with.

Just a knee jerk reaction to Bing me thinks.....

Over the last couple of months Ive been finding it harder to actually find what I want on google. Like looking for benchmarks on something and its not even in the right area or completely ignores keywords like the product name or in that example the word benchmark. It'll take more than a feature that saves me typing a couple of words to use google again. More like a re think of their search algorithm!
sirsiddius 9th September 2010, 14:10 Quote
I hate it, what next? Generating results from reading brainwaves. This is getting stupid. Sometimes a little autonomy is good for you.
eddtox 9th September 2010, 15:47 Quote
think google search is, at least in some ways, a victim of its own success.

Anybody even remotely considering SEO will start with optimising for google and maybe think about other search engines later - if they can be bothered. This "gaming" of the system effectively decreases the quality of the search results and makes google suckier for us all
OnyxLilninja 9th September 2010, 15:55 Quote
Surely SEO companies will just refine their techniques to game the auto-suggest as well. I fail to see how this will kill the SEO industry.
TSR2 9th September 2010, 21:16 Quote
I find it useful if you're not entirely sure what you're searching for, just keep an eye on what's coming up to see if you're getting the results you want. I suppose its a good example of just how far the internet has come if nothing else.
Canon 9th September 2010, 21:31 Quote
I thought Google had done coffee for a second then, shame really.
Gryphon 9th September 2010, 22:26 Quote
I quite like it. if your not quite sure what your searching for, type a bit of it in and then scroll through the auto completes to see which throws up the best results.

on the downside, i think i visited google.co.uk when they did the packman thing... then the next time was for the bouncy balls... actually, including just now that makes it twice in a week!

yeh... when it comes to the address bar, it will be handy, although i can't quite see how they're going to implement it.
V3ctor 9th September 2010, 23:04 Quote
...And the search for p0rn was never this fast!!... Kudos Google...
Madness_3d 9th September 2010, 23:26 Quote
found it by mistake earlier :-)
The_Jonas 10th September 2010, 07:24 Quote
Anyone else want this to be available for image search as well? :D
Would be cool, unless you have a limited connection...
rickysio 10th September 2010, 08:11 Quote
IMO, it's gimmicky. I'm still sticking to the SSL version of Google.
yakyb 10th September 2010, 08:37 Quote
i like it ,

its a little hard to get used to at first as i habitually press enter after a search but i could see the benefits immediately
BentAnat 10th September 2010, 08:57 Quote
It's also just turned into black-hat SEO dreamland. :/

I understand what they're trying to do, though. And even though it doesn't work in low bandwidtch scenarios (like the majority of the country), it seems to work well on lrger lines.
tristanperry 10th September 2010, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
And the problem with this is???

I have little sympathy for people who make a living gaming the system
Knowing what SEO is before making an ill-formed post would have been good

You are on about black hat tactics. That's nothing to do with SEO.

For what it's worth, this is Matt Cutts' views on Google Instant and SEO:
Quote:
But that doesn't mean that SEO will die. I've said it before, but SEO is in many ways about change. The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.

SEO simply means making your website accessible to search engines.

The people "gaming the system" aren't SEOs. They are spammers, black hatters, and in some cases fraudsters.

SEO /= spam.

If SEO was spam, Google wouldn't happily promote SEO and give loads of free SEO tips out:

http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291
etc

;)

But yeah, Google Instant seems an interesting change. I think it's bad from a usability perspective (will 'typical' users who type slowly appreciate the page shifting and transforming all the time?), although I'd imagine Google would tweak things within hours if they noticed people started using other SEs. It's a very interesting idea, one that I love.

Plus good websites with good content needn't worry.

You're right that it will - thankfully - harm the black hatters though :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BentAnat
It's also just turned into black-hat SEO dreamland. :/
Nah don't worry, the people 'gaming the system' are most definitely worried about these changes :) Google have been cracking down on the black hatters since around May of this year (Google 'Mayday update'), and it is thankfully having an effect.

Well done Google
sear 10th September 2010, 19:16 Quote
Not available in Canada yet. Don't really know. Will be interesting to see how advertisers respond... more ad impressions, sure, but it might drive costs of individual impressions way, way lower as people are exposed to far many more ads. I suppose there's also the potential of ads of a competitor flashing up right after your own ad, and I'm sure some businesses won't be happy about that...
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