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Google Instant launched to speed up searches

by Sarah Griffiths on 9 September 2010, 11:16

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Doodle deciphered

Google has finally revealed the meaning behind its mysterious doodle with the launch of Google Instant which searches while users type for what the company claims is a faster service.

While the idea of an incremental search has been around for a while, Google notes in its blog previous search-as-you-type demos have been ‘fundamentally flawed'.

Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience said: "You really want search-before-you-type-that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed."

She said this is what Google Instant achieves as it takes what a user has typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real-time for those predictions, which the company said makes "a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful."

Google Instant gives users a realtime stream of results which appear as they enter what they are searching for. A list of results is generated for every letter a user types and consequently they see many more results, refined with each letter they type, compared to if they used the 'old' Google with one normal page of results generated.

According to the blog, Google Instant comprises three features to work the magic- Dynamic results, where the results are displayed as a user types and suggestions can be clicked on, predictions, where the predicted query is written in light grey and scroll to search, which lets users scroll through predictions and see results instantly.

"To bring Google Instant to life, we needed a host of new technologies including new caching systems, the ability to adaptively control the rate at which we show results pages and an optimization of page-rendering JavaScript to help web browsers keep up with the rest of the system," said Mayer.

Google said the biggest benefit of its new search tool is the amount of time it saves, estimated at between 2 and 5 seconds per search. "With Google Instant, we estimate that we'll save our users 11 hours with each passing second!" Mayer added.

Google Instant will become the core search option on Google.com for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8 and will also be available to users in the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Spain, while everyone else will get their hands on it ‘over the coming weeks and months'. The firm also said Google Instant will be available on mobiles "later this fall".