We're reporting live from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where Google's just taken the wraps off its latest software product. The announcement itself is taking its time right now, with background facts like Google recently crossing the one billion users a week milestone, but the Google Instant service has been activated and you can see details about its immediate result delivery at the source below. Basically, the Goog no longer waits for you to hit Enter while searching and starts updating its results page Instantly as you type. Google describes it as a fundamental shift in seach and you can find more details along with its warm and fuzzy video introduction after the break.%Gallery-101726%%Gallery-101727%
Google Instant isn't yet available for mobile, but the plan is to "release it soon." The service is rolling out right now to signed-in users -- some of us even got to use it ahead of the announcement -- but it's pretty much a question of luck as to when you might get it over the next few days. The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Spain join the United States as the first countries to benefit from this new hotness, while Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 8 are the first supported browsers. Native browser integration is also promised over the next few months, presumably meaning that when you search through your address bar, results will start flooding in before you've even finished asking the question.
Boom! One press of the "w" key brought up local weather results instantaneously. Google's also integrated a predictive algorithm into Instant, which it describes as a "psychic element ... in that we're able to predict what you're going to type. Google becomes search before you type." Scroll to search is another touted feature, whereby going up or down through the suggested dropbox searches (as in the image above) also automatically updates your results in line with the suggestion you've got highlighted.
One curious side note: there's an ever-growing counter on the side of the stage, which just crossed the 20,000 mark. Our suspicion is that's the number of Google Instant search users active so far. Or maybe it's something even more awesome, who knows!
Ooh, the mobile version is coming this fall. We've lifted the testing address for the mob version from their presentation. Hit it up here to check it out for yourself. The best quote we can leave you with from this event is the following: "search is fast, Google Instant's even faster."
P.S. -- The counter's past 30,000 right now, rolling along at about 625 whatevers a minute. We're not leaving till we know what this is about.
P.P.S. -- Success! The counter represented hours saved by using Google Instant. According to these witty guys, Instant has already saved 36,000 hours with its speediness, and they estimate it'll accumulate a cool 350 million saved hours over the course of a year.
On-site reporting done by Sean Hollister
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Google Instant is rolling out over several days to users signed in to a Google Account. Check back soon if you are signed in and do not see it yet.
Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.
The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don't have to finish typing your full search term, or even press "search." Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.
Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
Smarter Predictions: Even when you don't know exactly what you're looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you're headed, every step of the way.
Did you know:
Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.
Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That's 11 hours saved every second.
15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I turn off Google Instant?
A: If you don't want to see results as you type, you can turn off Google Instant by clicking the link next to the search box on any search results page, or by visiting your Preferences page.
Q: Where is Google Instant available?
A: Google Instant is starting to roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. Please note, users on domains other than Google.com can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account. We will continue to add new domains and languages over the next several months.
Q: Will Google Instant slow my Internet connection?
A: We anticipate that Google Instant will not slow your Internet connection, and we plan to automatically turn it off for very slow connections. Even though we are serving more results pages, the additional load this enhancement creates is very small when compared to other types of web services such as streaming video and online gaming. We've also worked hard to minimize the amount of data that is sent and received during the search process. For example, when rendering new results as you type, we only send the parts of the page that change, without updating the static elements, such as a the page frame around the results.
Q: I love Google for its simplicity and I usually know what I want to type. Is Google Instant just a distraction for me?
A: With Google Instant you don't lose any of the functionality that you know and love about Google. If you want to type your full search term and hit enter, that still works just as it always has. Even for the experienced searcher, though, instant feedback can help you narrow in on the precise results you want, which may have taken several searches before. On top of that, we estimate that about half of your searches will be returned in net zero time because the results you want will appear before you finish typing.
Q: If an offensive or lewd word is a fraction of my query, will Google push these results in front of me as I type?
A: As always, we provide options to filter the content you see in search. You can choose to set SafeSearch to filter out explicit content, and parents can lock SafeSearch to the strict setting. In addition, autocomplete excludes certain terms related to pornography, violence and hate speech. Learn more about SafeSearch.
Q: Does this change impact the ranking of search results?
A: No, this change does not impact the ranking of search results.
Q: Is Google Instant available on mobile?
A: Google Instant is not yet available on mobile, but we plan to release it soon.