Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Google Instant Search

So in the world of internet searching, big things happened a week or two ago when Google announced they were changing the way searches were performed on their site. This is something akin as to what would happen if KFC were to announce they were changing the Colonel's original recipe. Google has branched out over the years, gobbling up other business areas like YouTube and Picasa, but search remains their bread and butter. It's where they get a lot of their money (by selling ad space on search results), so they're very careful with how they make changes. (They've tweaked results lists in the past, including adding additional ways to filter out results, such as limiting it by date, source, etc. But this is actually changing the way the search looks on the screen and the speed the search takes, which seems more fundamental to me.)

What is this change?

They've added instant searching. So when you go to Google and start typing in a search, it automatically starts delivering results as you type. So you might put in "What is the date" and it shows up results for what the date is today. You keep typing "of the first astronaut" and it refines those results. You keep typing "to walk on the moon," the more specific results show up. This is all supposed to happen seamlessly, and it does--depending on your internet connection.

So does this make a big difference? Google estimates it saves 2-5 seconds per search. Big whoop, right? Well, supposedly all those seconds pay off. Google says that if everyone in the world used Google Instant Search, it would save 3.5 billion seconds a day, or 11 hours a second. (Of course, those numbers sound good, but I'm kind of doubting the world will suddenly seem to be a more productive place, just because we're all saving 2 seconds on each internet search. We'll see.)

I've used it now for a while, and I can't say that it's made the impact on me Google wants it to have. Yes, it seems to be faster, but I still find myself waiting to look at the results until I'm done typing them in. Then again, I'm a fast typer, so maybe I'd notice myself using this more if I typed more slowly.

In any case, interesting to see change happen, albeit seemingly glacial change at times. Any thoughts out there from you, faithful readers? Have you noticed the difference? Do you like it? Hate it? Do tell . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment