Is Google an instant success (again)?

Google have introduced Google Instant and now Google Instant Pages (in Chrome). The basic fact is that user input (ie typing) is slow. In terms of how fast the computer and the data transfer rate over the internet, then typing is comparatively veeeerrrry sssslllooooowwww. So there is a period of time while the user is typing that the computer is just sitting there waiting for the next letter – and the next – and the next. So why not fill in the gap doing something useful.

That’s just what Google Instant Pages does. It looks at what you typed already, what you’ve looked at in the past, what the top likely results are so far, and goes off and starts loading the web page right away.

Google Instant has being doing something similar for search results changing real time as you type, but now it loads the web page for the most likely result straight away, if the most likely result isn’t a web page you get the search results as normal.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not the right one (you haven’t wasted any time remember) – you can keep typing as normal until the resulting web page starts to look more likely to contain what you were searching for, or you get the standard search results instead.

Yep – it’s distracting at first as things seem to be changing under your feet a bit, but give it a bit of time to get used to it and you’ll find yourself saving time because Google already loaded the webpage whilst you were typing, so you don’t even have to finish. Touting the saved amount of time as 11 hours per second, the claim seems to be greater productivity for the (online) human race.

The problem with the previous version of Google Instant, where the search results appeared as you were typing was that it was difficult to process both what you were typing and what was appearing on screen – especially for those who can’t touch type and are always looking at the keyboard. Now with the likelihood of the whole webpage loading ‘instantly’, the ability to visually process the appearance of the (larger) actual webpage is improved thanks to images, headlines, layout and many other subtle characteristics rather than a collection of visually similar textual search results.

This could be a great step forward in make search efficient. That’s great for Google, and great for those browsers that copy the mechanism or take advantage of Google’s planned open source – (at least for Google Instant).

The problem is there’s an awful lot of websites out there that provide internal search tools that are suddenly going to seem very slow in comparison.

So while Google might say the web is going to seem faster, then actually once you’ve used Google Instant and Instant Pages, then in comparison – until everyone is using the same technology, the web is only going to be perceived as slower.