Google changed the search industry with the release of Google Instant Search a few months back, and it has since become a ubiquitous part of the search engine, a feature we quickly came to take for granted. Displaying search results as you typed them, thereby getting rid of the need to actually “submit” a search, showed that Google was ready to take search technology to new heights.
Now, Google is announcing, via the Official Google Blog, that Google Instant Search has an official beta release for both the iOS 4 and Android 2.2 platforms. It can be accessed by simply turning on the functionality in the link on the mobile search page. In a search market where Google has more than 95% market share (the mobile search market), enabling Instant Search functionality is simply one more nail in the coffin of other mobile search providers.
The system is still a little buggy, as it is still a beta. We had to reload the Google page a few times when it suddenly stopped displaying our Instant Search results, and the search history recommendations drop-down selector seems to be persistent to the point of annoyance, getting in the way of the search results and ruining the experience. We would like to think that Google will tackle these problems as they pop up.
Instant Search could be more important on a mobile device than on a desktop. On a smartphone, you want instant access to content, and time is measured in how many times you have to touch the screen to accomplish a task. The seconds shaved off of searches by using Instant Search are worth more on a mobile phone than they are on a desktop.
Included in the beta release are general improvements to the HTML5 and AJAX code that Google promises will speed up the general search experience as well.