Way back in 2010 - almost a lifetime ago, in tech years - Google introduced its Instant Search feature. Typing into the Google search box on desktop browsers would not only present a drop-down list of suggestions to complete your query, but the search engine would also begin listing results as you typed, helping you to get to the information you were looking for a bit faster.
But desktop browsing isn't quite as popular as it once was, and these days, over 50% of all Google searches are on mobile devices. With mobile usage continuing to rise, Google has decided to remove Instant Search, as it explores new ways to improve search across all devices.
In a statement to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson confirmed the decision:
We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.
The change has already come into effect; if you now visit google.com in a desktop browser, and begin typing a search, you'll no longer be instantly whisked to the search results page. Instant Search was never a feature on mobile, and it seems that Google now sees greater value in providing a more consistent search experience across all devices.
Source: Search Engine Land