Meet Google Instant: Search Results While You Type

Includes: AABA, GOOG, MSFT
by: Sam Diaz

Google (GOOGLE) Wednesday is announcing a speed boost to its search technology, eliminating the need to press the return key to see search results. A new tool, called Google Instant, allows users to see results in real-time, as they type.

At an event today, the company said that it has enhanced search over the years to make the process faster on its end, rolling out enhanced search refinement tools and adding in real-time results, such as streaming headlines and tweets related to the query.

But this move allows users to optimize the time that it takes for them to not only type a query but also scan the results.

The tool actually has a “psychic element,” predicting what a user is typing by the firs few letters of the query. This is not search as you type but rather search before you type, the company said.

Initially I had my reservations about this, wondering if it would create even more noise in the search results. Then, I did the same search that many people do - I Google’d myself. I found that the noise was actually reduced.

Aas I typed the “S” in my name, Skype came up first. (How nice for Skype.) Then, came Safeway, followed by Samsung and finally, with the first letter of my last name, the auto-complete listed me as third in line.

Not bad.

In fact, the company has done some calculations on time savings that come from the new search technology - an average of 2-5 seconds per search. In total, Google estimates users will save 11 hours with each passing second.

So, if I conduct 50 searches a day and save 3.5 seconds per search (the midpoint of the average), that’s 175 seconds per day, or nearly 3 minutes. At the end of the week, that’s just shy of 15 minutes savings. (Hey, Larry, I’m taking a long lunch on Fridays from here on out.)

The service will be available later today on over the Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE8 browsers. It will be available immediately in the U.S. but will be rolled out over the coming weeks internationally for users who are signed in to their Google accounts.

And seeing how typing on a mobile phone can still be a challenge, the company is working on Google Instant for mobile search and said it will be ready later this year.

As always, Google has posted a video to help better explain: