Google unveils Instant, live searches

This morning, Google CEO Eric Schmidt tweeted a hint as to what Google would unleash during today's big announcement.

"I predict big things happening today at Google. We're already fast.. fast is about to get faster."

What Schmidt meant to say was "instant." As pointed out by the Search Engine Roundtable, Google has shown off live search results. When you begin typing in your search criteria, Google will dynamically show you what your results would be if you were to submit the search at that moment. Of course, this feature can be turned off at any time. 

What this new functionality means for Google is unclear. One thing is for sure--no other search engine can do this. That right there gives even more bragging rights to the world's most popular search engine. It will be interesting to see if a similar search feature will make its way to mobile devices. We will know soon enough.

UPDATE: The new feature will be called Google Instant. You can read up on it at Google's very own site.

  • 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.

If you're interested in trying out Instant yourself then please visit Google's Instant search page here.

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76 Comments

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This is so annoying. I dont really care for the new Instant search, and it's great that I can disable it, but now I cannot disable "auto complete" in regular google.com search bar and I ****ING HATE AUTOCOMPLETE.

Is there a way to disable instant search AND autocomplete?

I tried it, but its a big waste of time!! Autopager is not working anymore, and I can swear it saves me much more time than instant search ever will!!

erm, i think i type too fast, by the time i finished typing what i'm looking for the page is just about refreshed, so it saves me exactly zero seconds

I don't see too much changes for user: I guess it applied some AJAX to detect the user typing keyword and display the results in the same page, so user can skip the ENTER key.

It simply increases the workload on Google's server.

If you type "Google" into Google, then you can destroy the internet.

I shudder in fear what Instant will do to us...

"One thing is for sure--no other search engine can do this. "

Careful with that. No other major search engine uses it on their own page, but other sites have given us instant search using Google's and Bing's APIs. A previous commenter mentioned the Bing one by Long Zheng

I do wish they would stop enabling these new features by default. I was in the middle of doing some research and between searches (about 3 minutes), it was enabled. I would rather have had them announce it and let me enable it in my settings.

Glen said,
I do wish they would stop enabling these new features by default. I was in the middle of doing some research and between searches (about 3 minutes), it was enabled. I would rather have had them announce it and let me enable it in my settings.

Just log out of your Google account if you want it disabled for now... Soon enough a user script will likely get made for Firefox and Chrome (Possibly safari) to disable it.

I'm confused! This capability has been in Bing for a long time. In fact, it is axactly the same thing. The only thing I see here is Google catching up with Bing. This feature in Bing is so natural that I wasn't even paying attention up until I see all the headlines talking about Google and this Bing rip off.

It's sad to see how the tech industry is turning to be nowadays.

CarlDilone said,
I'm confused! This capability has been in Bing for a long time. In fact, it is axactly the same thing. The only thing I see here is Google catching up with Bing. This feature in Bing is so natural that I wasn't even paying attention up until I see all the headlines talking about Google and this Bing rip off.

It's sad to see how the tech industry is turning to be nowadays.

The thing is, bing is unpopular. Google is VERY popular... I don't know anyone who really use's BING. I even don't like it as it's search results are tiny and useless compaired to google.

Google: Think Less

This is an awful product. OK, so I don't have to click or scroll. Except I do, don't i?

Also, since a few weeks ago when I click on my quick link to google.co.uk, I can't just start typing, as in:

1. Click Link
2. Start Typing

I instead, every time:

1. Click Link
2. Start Typing
3. Realise the cursor hasn't focussed on the input field
4. Move mouse anywhere on screen
5. Cursor appears
6. FINALLY TYPE

More fun facts from Google's censoring, you cannot search for a "Naked Mole Rat" or the band "Barenaked Ladies." I can understand removing the word "porn" from results, but these are legitimate searches.

Alan Cone said,
More fun facts from Google's censoring, you cannot search for a "Naked Mole Rat" or the band "Barenaked Ladies." I can understand removing the word "porn" from results, but these are legitimate searches.

Likely censoring every close to inappropriate work. I suppose it's good anyway, as if it got rolled out to people without a google account and schools got it, people could search and get past filters... Which would could problems.

Alan Cone said,
More fun facts from Google's censoring, you cannot search for a "Naked Mole Rat" or the band "Barenaked Ladies." I can understand removing the word "porn" from results, but these are legitimate searches.
That's funny and sounds like a bug, if it doesn't work by your SafeSearch settings.

And it sucks that you have to have a google account so this will be useless at my school as you can't log on to your Google account.

TechDudeGeorge said,
And it sucks that you have to have a google account so this will be useless at my school as you can't log on to your Google account.

Oh... well that explains it... well then its not for me...

Can't they now remove the "Google Search" and "I'm feeling lucky" buttons from the main page as you enter text and don't get time to click them. So no point.

Plus it's 100% working fast in Chrome

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.

TechDudeGeorge said,

Move to Chrome, much better

I'm actually finding Safari much better right now. I was going to the wrong URL thus Safari not working with this.

For the record, Apple helped Google with Chrome. Not to a great extent, but they did help to a point.


Oh! Before I forget, no browser is truly 'better' than another. Since we all have our needs/wants and each browser can accommodate them differently.

Imagine the range of information will Google be able to collect from this 'service'! Am I the only one who's seeing the world in which even our darkest secret soon to be (or already ) revealed? If Google keeps growing at this rate it would be in control of every aspect of information. Our governments have to do something about this.

generko said,
Imagine the range of information will Google be able to collect from this 'service'! Am I the only one who's seeing the world in which even our darkest secret soon to be (or already ) revealed? If Google keeps growing at this rate it would be in control of every aspect of information. Our governments have to do something about this.
They already had the information with Google search suggestions.

Tried it from work with fat broadband and got this error:
Google Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search.

Fail.

Neb Okla said,
Tried it from work with fat broadband and got this error:
Google Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search.

Fail.


Sucks to be you!

Great! So Google can now claim more advertising impressions per search.

I hope this will be clear to advertisers how *long* their adverts were on the screen for.

DonC said,
Great! So Google can now claim more advertising impressions per search.

I hope this will be clear to advertisers how *long* their adverts were on the screen for.


Leave that problem to the advertisers. Unless you're fishing for ideas on how this could be a bad thing.

I got this a couple of times randomly the other day - it was fantastic, really fast as well. Absolutely no lag between adding a character to the string you are typing and getting the relevant results for what you have written so far. I found it very useful

When is this out and did anyone see the new logo today? Also what happens with issues like searching for information about the history of porn for example if you type in "history of" then "porn" thats fine but what if you type in "porn history" surely it will stream the results for porn first? Love the idea but i see problems.

Just for fun I tested your theory about the "history of porn" and starting with "porn history." It turns out that if you type "porn", Google Instant will not search it. If you type "history of" and then "porn" it will not search it. They seem to have censored results here, even with SafeSearch off.

Alan Cone said,
Just for fun I tested your theory about the "history of porn" and starting with "porn history." It turns out that if you type "porn", Google Instant will not search it. If you type "history of" and then "porn" it will not search it. They seem to have censored results here, even with SafeSearch off.

I tried this out just now.

"Porn history" doesnt bring back any instant searches, but press the Enter key and it will work

Interesting approach. Useful for some things but not so sure about a general search. Nice to see some more innovation though.

OceanMotion said,
Interesting approach. Useful for some things but not so sure about a general search. Nice see some more innovation though.

This isn't innovation, desktop search already does this when searching files. Its just natural progression.

nifke said,

Neowin should state this in the post that google is just a copy-cat from Long Zheng and Bing

Just like Bing is just a copy-cat of Google or Ask Jeeves or how BMW is just a copy-cat of Ford...we could go on all day here.

Ryanlm said,

LOL they found away to deliver more ads per search. hah!

true
why the hell did they invent auto complete/suggestions? Now I have to watch another thing, which results in losing more time.
Hello Bing, how are you my new friend?

nifke said,

true
why the hell did they invent auto complete/suggestions? Now I have to watch another thing, which results in losing more time.
Hello Bing, how are you my new friend?

You realize it's optional...and it doesn't effect the normal functionality of Google...