Google Instant Brings You Results Before You Click Search

Have you ever thought Google was too slow?  Yeah, me neither. Yet, Google apparently wants to make things faster. So welcome to the next evolution in search – Google Instant. Start typing a result and Google not only suggests what you’re searching for, but also provides results – as if you hit search – while you’re typing.

According Google product manager Johanna Wright, it’s “not search while you type” it’s actually “search before you type.”  Google tries to predict what you are typing and provides those results immediately while you are still typing. If you keep typing, Google keeps changing the results, fairly instantly.  Unfortunately, Google Instant is only for people who who are signed into their Google accounts.

Google Instant will be rolled out today. Depending on which server you hit, you may or may not see it on the Google home page. It will hit browsers like Chrome “soon.”

How Does It Work?

Start typing. It’s that simple. When you type, results appear.  As it previously worked, the search box will have suggested searches immediately underneath the search box. What’s different now is the rest of the text of the suggested phrase will be gray, letting you know what Google thinks you’re searching for. This is what Google calls the predicted text. If you use your arrow keys to “scroll” through the predicted text, the results will change instantly. Google calls this scroll to search.

So what’s the down side? You have to be logged into a Google account to for Instant to be available. I suspect that may change as the product evolves.

Some Cool Searches To Try

  • Type w – Google will use your IP address to figure out your location and the first result nearly as you type the w is weather for your location.
  • Type mov – Again, using your IP information, Google returns Movie times for your location

The movie search can also return instant results for specific movies. Search fora movie currently playing and you’ll see times at theaters near you for that movie.

This is certainly a product that will be evolving. The Google engineers demonstrated Instant Search for mobile browsers – not an app. They are still working on it, but expect to unroll it in the coming months.

But Why?!

The math was interesting. After much research, Google claims the average search takes about 25 seconds. Users spend 9 seconds typing in their query. Network traffic to Google is about 400 milliseconds (ms) to get there and 400ms back. The average search is just under 300ms. We’re now just around the 10 second mark. Using eye-tracking software, Google researchers have discovered people (on average) spend 15 seconds looking all around the screen before actually clicking on a result. Since they can’t make the 300 ms search time faster, they wanted to help people pick up the pace typing, shaving off most of the 9 seconds on the front-side. Somehow they claim that they will save people 11 hours for every 1 second they have previously spent on search.  I, for one, still want to see that calculation.

3 thoughts on “Google Instant Brings You Results Before You Click Search”

  1. What do you think the affects are on SEO and SEM? You mentioned on a twitter (thanks) that we it’s 3 seconds before an impression is counted. Do you see SEM changing to match the minds of “how one thinks/types”? And do you see SEO and search ranking strategies changing.. or becoming stronger/more effective?

  2. Good SEO is what it always has been. Good content yields good rankings. I’ve looked at some of high-ranking clients using Instant and their results are still there. Again, the algorithm hasn’t changed time time; only the way the results are display has changed.

    I think time will tell on the long tail words. What will likely happen is that people will just accept the Google suggested phrases and not create new ones of their own. But we’ll see…

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