Google launches Instant Previews for search results

By on November 9, 2010, 2:02 PM
Google has announced Instant Previews for its search results. The feature helps you choose which link to click by showing you a mini cached version of each page. Instant Previews is rolling out over the next "few days" (for the impatient, you can opt-in via this link) and will be available in 40 languages.

Instant Previews can be seen by clicking on the magnifying glass (or actually anything from the search result that isn't a link). Once you do so, a snapshot of the site corresponding to the search result will appear to the right. You can check out previews for other links by simply hovering over them. Furthermore, Google will highlight the relevant part of the preview that comes from your query. You can also navigate using arrow keys: hitting the right arrow button will show you a preview, hitting the down or up arrows lets you move through the search results plus their previews, and the left arrow will close the previews.

Google hopes Instant Previews will give users even more information to help them decide which of their search results they want to navigate to. The feature is particularly helpful if you're looking for a webpage you've seen before but it can also be useful if you want to avoid sketchy websites.

"In our testing, we've found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "The previews provide new ways to evaluate search results, making you more likely to find what you’re looking for on the pages you visit."

User Comments: 28

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bakape said:

Not too big of an impact for those who are already using Search Preview on GC or FF, but generally a very welcome addition.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Thats pretty intense when you think about it, thats alot to cache!

TwiztidSef said:

Looks like they are just taking pictures of the web pages and linking them to the search results. I am sure google already had a database capable of this before they started and enough space to keep 5x this amount of data.

It looks like this is to improve customer satisfaction overall. If they wanted to monetize it, they can add a add at the top or bottom of the preview. I expect google to do that eventually, mostly because they are a business. I am damn near blind to ads now, from seeing so many on the internet.

limpangel limpangel said:

burty117 said:

Thats pretty intense when you think about it, thats alot to cache!

Not really that much. The TechSpot page thumbnail is around 23 KB. If you cache the image of about 1 billion web pages then you need around 21.5 TB of disk space. I think Google can afford that. :P

sMILEY4ever said:

Even though it's not really that usefull, I can see why some1 would want to preview a page before going there.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I just tried it, and honestly it does not seem any faster than simply opening the link in a new tab by clicking the scroll wheel.

omega00 said:

It's kinda cool, especially if you have a really old computer. I would love to open a bunch of links in new tabs, but I mainly use an old computer that gets bogged down if I open too many tabs. It's a bit more convenient now with this instant preview thing.

UT66 said:

whats going on with google, are they nervous or something? whats up with all this recent gimmicks?

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

To be honest I prefer to open a bunch of links in new tabs and then going through them. Depends how you search I guess.

Puiu Puiu said:

firefox has an extention for this, but it doesn't compare to what google did (well, they do have direct access to the server). This is going to be a feature that i'll use everyday. Is it just me or did google started working overtime? (chrome, google search, youtube, gmail, etc). You can clearly see a lot of effort put in everything they did lately.

jazboy said:

I guess this is just screen shot of the webpage you are going to see. I am not sure whether it shows current webpage screen or google has stored theier website image in their database and showing along with search result. This is really good addition but not sure how much it will help the search user.

Razerblade said:

Not a bad little feature. I thought Google already had thumbnails of the websites in search but maybe I am just imagining that. Will be interesting to see how well this works when it is rolled out.

Eddo22 said:

That's a good feature for users, however it's probably going to reduce the number of hits some websites get.

treetops treetops said:

Its distracting, sometimes I end up typing in the wrong word.

Recipe7 Recipe7 said:

Only 5%? Consider me 100%. No more making a dozen tabs to see a few websites, cool.

Guest said:

Annoying. I've already blocked it by adding this filter to Adblock Plus

vangrat said:

limpangel said:

burty117 said:

Thats pretty intense when you think about it, thats alot to cache!

Not really that much. The TechSpot page thumbnail is around 23 KB. If you cache the image of about 1 billion web pages then you need around 21.5 TB of disk space. I think Google can afford that. :P

Hello Limpangel

Just to be pedantic, in 2008 (source:
s-big.html) google stated they had indexed over 1 trillion pages. So to re-estimate your estimate

You would need 22351.74 TB of disk space. NOW this is an upper estimate, but even half of that...still a bit more than 21.5 TB.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Fruits of competition, I think Google took Bing's idea and refined it further. Although these features 'can' get in the way at times.

speeedy6 said:

Looking forward to it.

limpangel limpangel said:

@vangrat: Nice one. I didn't know that number (I should have googled it :P ). Anyway, according to your estimates they would need like 2 mil. $ to cover just the storage expenses, assuming they are making thumbs of all the pages they index. It's a lot, but then again we're talking Google here. As far as I tested it seems that they are making the thumbs on the fly. So if someone clicks on the preview of a certain page and till then nobody did that, they make the thumb. That means they don't waste space with pages nobody visits.

On a side note I discovered that the preview shows the first page of PDF files too.

gobbybobby said:

It is clear Bing has made google step up operations and improve the website. I still don't like the new image search.

taea00 said:

There was another search engine that has had the preview for a few years now. Sadly I can't remember which, because it wasn't really worth it at the time. I'm hoping Google has a better implementation. I can see this being very useful if done right.

I don't think Bing has Google worried yet, they still don't have very much of the market, but I'm always for competition. So we need more search engines eating away at the market so it'll force everyone to add more useful features. Key on useful.

aalsheh said:

ahhh, now searching for porn is so much easier :P

on a serious note, Google was accused of so much carbon footprint per search they get, how much is this gonna add to that? is it worthed to destroy our planet for a ***** to get a better search?

Cryptopsy said:

Ya indeed, Search Preview already existed as an Addon. Still a cool feature to implement directly into google itself.

spyx said:

Google is .....THE BEST!!!!!!! im not totally freakin out over this bt its pretty sweet, what i do like is how google is always coming up with all these little things that help u in life

buttus said:

This is actually a pretty cool little feature and really cuts down on search time.

zogo said:

Nice addon, very helpful. It's not very new although.

fritz123 said:

i just tried it right now! i would have never know if it wasnt for TS! haha! its kinda cool not having to open tabs just to see thing that you were not looking for. this feature is really helpful (for me at least). and it doesnt take too much of the bandwidth so yeah, cool

google just keeps on adding these awesome innovations. i dont really know if they came up with it first. but i really does help

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