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Google Instant: Google Search Like Woah!

Lisa Rau |
September 8, 2010 | 11:26 a.m. PDT


New Google Instant Search predicts your results before you're even finished typing.
New Google Instant Search predicts your results before you're even finished typing.
It’s a bird…

It’s a plane… 

It’s… faster than the speed of type!

At least that’s what Google says about it.

Google officially released their new interactive search method, and they dubbed the new service “Google Instant.” As if search wasn’t instant before.

Before the release, some were calling it “incremental search,” “innovative search,” or “interactive search,” but at least no one suggested iSearch. Look for that inside the next release of iTunes, and watch all hell break loose on Twitter.

What’s so new and snazzy about Google’s new search?

Check it out:

Google Instant will supposedly hit mobile phones sometime this fall.

But other than partial-word results and seeing the screen swiftly change before your eyes…

What’s the point?

Let’s role play for a moment. Say you want to buy your mom a nice birthday present, and her birthstone is garnet. You consult the all-knowing, super-spry Google Instant and begin to type:


  • “G” – Google gets really excited because you just typed its favorite letter, and your screen fills with Google links: Gmail, Google Maps, Google apps… Glee sneaks its way in near the bottom of the screen.
  • “GA” – Surprisingly, Lady Gaga does not show up. Instead, your page switches to games. Lots and lots of games. Games.com, Yahoo games, Pogo games… It’s games galore. But if your mom’s like my mom, she’s no RPG gamer or Bejeweled fanatic.
  • “GAR” – Gary Coleman. Rest his soul, but do I really need to see half a dozen photos of his cute little smiling face when searching for pricing information about a semi-precious stone?
  • “GARN” – Garnet Hill. What the heck is Garnet Hill? This huge-yet-random fashion/clothing/home furnishing/random trinkets retailer has nothing to do with my query.
  • “GARNET STONE” – Okay, I’m switching to Buy.com for this one. Just like before.

Ultimately, Google Instant merely seems like a fun little show-off stage for all the letter pairings before you’re finished typing your word. If anything, it seems a bit distracting.

Frustrating for dial-up users.

Annoying to chronic bad spellers.

Dangerous for those easily distracted by shiny objects. (Fortunately for those with serious ADD, you can always opt-out.)

Google Instant is a cool new feature, but I look forward to the real innovations in search technology. Search that moves beyond words.

But how long will it be until we can just draw, speak or think a Google search? Perhaps one day, all you’ll have to do is fart, and Google will bombard you with ads for Beano and Febreze.

For now, only time will tell how search continues to evolve.

Until then, happy hyperactive searching.

Reach columnist Lisa Rau here.

Follow her on Twitter: @LisaRau

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