Google unveils 'Instant' search feature

By on September 8, 2010, 1:10 PM
Google has unveiled a new feature dubbed 'Instant', aimed at helping users find information more quickly and easily than ever before by showing results as words are typed into the site's search box. The company estimates that by predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can not only save 2-5 seconds per search, but also serve as a useful guide for users who don't know exactly what they're searching for.

Results appear for the top auto-suggestion as you type, with no need to hit enter or click the search button, while other suggestions appear in a drop down list. For example, I started typing Nice, France, and by the time I got through "nice f" a map of the city was already available, along a collection of photos and relevant links. Without typing anything else as I moved to Google's next guess, "nice france weather," I got a four-day forecast with high and low temperatures for the city.


Google claims that if all users switch over to the instant interface, it will amount to a savings of 11 hours of searching per second. The new feature is enabled by default for users in the U.S. and several European countries, but you'll need to be on Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 8 for the service to work. Everybody else can still give it a spin following this link, or opt out by clicking the instant search link to the right of the search box.




User Comments: 26

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motrin said:

oh.. hha i was wondering what the thread over @ the steam forums was about

cyrusjumpjet cyrusjumpjet said:

WHOA! this is great!

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

wow, that works incredibly well! Very cool

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Geez...what a coincidence, Jose. Nice, France eh? You wouldn't happen to be heading there anytime soon, wouldja?

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Pretty cool, to bad I use iGoogle as my homepage though.

Guest said:

This is the most innovative thing I've seen happen to internet search in a while. This should keep Google on top of the game (like anyone could ever overcome Google's market share :-P ) as long as they have this feature patented or copyrighted.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So thats what it was..I was'nt keen on it so i turned it off (Sorry Google)

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

This, much like their bouncing balls yesterday, doesn't work in Opera 10.61 or Safari 5.0.1 or the Nightly Webkit.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

@SNGX1275 - That's a nice hist that you should upgrade ^_^

Staff
Jos Jos said:

Geez...what a coincidence, Jose. Nice, France eh? You wouldn't happen to be heading there anytime soon, wouldja?

Moving there on Saturday and I still have a bunch of things to take care of before my trip :-S

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Well this is wonderful! this will give me that extra .00000625 of a second of quality time with the kids.

EDO219 said:

I like the few milliseconds of my life that is spared by not needing to hit the ENTER key each time.

Although, each of us have just nullified this saved time by discussing how it has saved us time. lol

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I like the few milliseconds of my life that is spared by not needing to hit the ENTER key each time.

Although, each of us have just nullified this saved time by discussing how it has saved us time. lol

Touch'e PYGMUS

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well I don't know about others, but I've been using something similar like this on bing for so long ........ I wonder why no one really noticed it.

Well this is wonderful! this will give me that extra .00000625 of a second of quality time with the kids.

No, that saved time is lost while you are thinking about how to spend it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wow, those .000625 seconds seemed like an eternity.....NOT

The human reflex arc is about 1/4 of a second, (at best, sober).

So you lost that time and more, at, (or slightly after), the "instant" you saved it.

Auto complete is the most annoying feature yet conceived by man. I turn it off wherever possible. You lose even more time by sitting there reading the "suggestions".

This has to be right up there with discovering your own reflection in a Christmas ball, as pure worthless narcissism.

God look out, Google's coming after your personal information next....!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Auto complete is the most annoying feature yet conceived by man. I turn it off wherever possible. You lose even more time by sitting there reading the "suggestions".

I agree, does this 'virtual' saving of a few hundredths of a second actually work on people?

God look out, Google's coming after your personal information next....!

It does have one advantage...I forgot my SS # the other day while filling out an application...no problem though...I just Google'd it.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

You can disable it in Search Settings

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I love auto complete, especially on my iPhone where fat fingering my text happens all to often and the auto complete feature saves a ton of time that's better spent waiting for ATT's network to drop or timeout.

Guest said:

We have had no luck disabling it in search settings despite following every variety of instruction available on the web thus far.

It says its disabled, yet there it is.

How have you disabled it - and has it stayed disabled? Every discussion/forum I've searched everyone complains that it cannot be turned off.

We find it visually annoying and are looking a dogpile as an alternative.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@ Guest above;

I use the Firefox start page, which is sorta Google, but not really. Anyway, I have auto complete, (or "auto-suggest" if you prefer), disabled in Firefox. That does kill it.

You didn't state which browser you're using, but I suspect that if it's "Chrome" or IE, and you're also using the actual Google as your home page, then it might not be as easy to get rid of.

Guest said:

We are using Firefox 3x with NoScript and WOT add-ons. We have Google enabled in NoScript. We have Google as our Home Page.

In Google Search Settings we have clicked on Do not use Google Instant.

We are unable to find the button to disable auto completion or auto suggest in Firefox Preferences.

Help?!!

Guest said:

@captaincranky

Looking further, we find a Google employee saying that autocomplete is now obligatory for everyone on using Google forevermore: "As Autocomplete quality has improved, we felt it was appropriate to have it always on for all of our users."

This link below will take you to the page with Kelly F's "Best Answer" to the question "How do I turn off autocomplete?"

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Web+Search/thread?tid=
a69f1094357f31b&hl=en

We have found two workarounds, neither great: forbid permission in NoScript; or use Google Elmer Fudd.

Best option, perhaps - use dogpile. If you come up width a better suggestion, please let us know. Thanks for your advice.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@Guest; as I said earlier, the Firefox / Google home page does not auto complete, at least as of yet...! This is with version 3.5.11.

You can turn off auto-complete in this version thus; "Tools" > "Options" > " "Advanced" (tab), then uncheck, "search for text when I start typing".

This still works as of today, in this version of Firefox, which makes me even more afraid than usual of updating my browser version.

I tried the actual Google homepage, and yes, the browser setting has no effect on the auto-complete function there.

As I said before, I am using the Firefox English start page, and NOT the proprietary Google homepage.

I wonder how long it will actually take for Google to ruin this as well.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Captain

Don't worry, even FF4B5 supports disabling auto complete

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Or as I said earlier, you could use Opera, Safari, or Webkit and autocomplete works, but the instant search doesn't.

Edit: Actually I was just reading some site and they reported that instant search isn't rolled out for all users yet, so maybe I'm just lucky/unlucky.

Guest said:

@captaincranky

In ref to your reply in #24 post

I neglected to tell you we are on a Mac, Ff 3.6.9. We do not have an options choice in tools as you mention, just in Ff prefs and none for autocomplete.

What I have done as a workaround is to forbid permissions for Google in NoScript Add-on for Firefox which effectively disables java script . This stops the dropdowns from coming - the query suggestions which one can no longer shut off in the Google search settings. As the Google tech said: "As Autocomplete quality has improved, we felt it was appropriate to have it always on for all of our users."

Google instant we have selected "Do not use Google Instant" in the search settings Google page. If Google Instant is a function where the address bar is filled in before we finish typing then we have conquered that - but unless we disable java script  via NoScript the drop downs keep coming.

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