Google Instant: Because Real-Time Wasn’t Fast Enough

Now Google can be your new best friend and finish your sentences for you!

If you’ve been looking up anything online in the past two days, you’ve probably noticed the new phenomena called “Google Instant.” It’s kind of like the “Google suggest” list that pops up underneath your search bar while you type, trying to predict what you’re searching for; however, with Google Instant, instead of just a changing lists of suggestions, you’ve got an entire changing page of results as you type. According to the new Instant information page, it can even save you “2-5 seconds per search.”

Google seems to take a couple things into account when predicting what you’re searching for, including location. While one blogger who lives in St. Louis typed the letter “O” into Google and had come up as the suggested results, entering “O” here in Virginia Beach brings up ODU (Old Dominion University).

Instant is an opt-out operation, with an off button next to the search bar if you don’t want to be distracted by all the possibilities leading up to what you’re looking for.

google instant

I typically either use the toolbar search in Firefox, or type search queries directly into the address bar in Chrome, so Google Instant hasn’t really affected the way I personally search. However, working within a search-centered company, the change has definitely caused some discussion. Rusty James, one of our VPs, made a great point during a company-wide, 18 email long thread. He actually made a few great points:

“The more I use the Google Instant feature, the more I dislike it. It’s kind of annoying.

It’s like starting to ask someone a question, only to have them cut you off and give you an answer without letting you finish. I’m not sure why that’s so appealing?

Google has been working on the art of “autocompletion” for some time now. They even have a “Google Scribe” tool in their lab section.

We’re stumbling into an age where people are too lazy and want things so fast that predictive text/search results is becoming a way of life.

Think about it. Before long “original thoughts” will be a thing of the past. Instead all thoughts will be made up of suggested words and phrases based on popular trends and usage.

The human race is becoming more brilliant and dumb at the same time.”

So whether you agree or disagree on the possible benefits or detriments of Google Instant, you have to admit: it’s worth at least 2-5 seconds of thought.