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Google’s Instant Search.. Your Thoughts?

September 8th, 2010 : · 40 Comments ·

Google is rolling out their new AJAX instant search results beginning today..

I’ve created a video for those of you who are not yet seeing the new features..
To test it,  log into your Google account.  You can also turn instant search off if you choose.

Watch the video here

Let me know what you think? Great innovation?  Annoying distraction, or something in between..

- Dave -

Incoming search terms for the article:


40 Comments so far ↓

  • Domains at Retail

    I’m not seeing it here in Canada on Personally I kind of like it, but showing up for one or two characters is kind of distracting as “am” will always start showing amazon or such.

    I love everything instant for searching, and now if you have a great “title” that catches the users eye you may get more visitors.

  • Benjamin Fitts

    I hate it.

    Another thing is how will this effect people targetting long tail keywords. My guess is it will put more emphasis on the shorter keyword phrases than the long tail.

  • Nikolai

    I saw it already, my thoughts so far – more searches for Google, lower CTR for everyone, worse quality scores for advertisers = more money to Google.

    Why? Very simple: when it’s turned on and you navigate the drop-down with cursor instead of reaching for the mouse (it seems more natural to me: you type, see suggestions and move your cursor to the one you want), when you move the selection up and down, the page refreshes instantly, whether you want it or not.

    So if the suggestion you need is at the bottom of the “dropdown” with all the variations, you make the Google search for all the terms you go through each time you highlight new keyphrase. Try it and you will see what I mean.

    What it will also lead to is more traffic to mid- and long-tail keyphrases = SEOs and PPC marketers should pay more attention to their website logs and keyword research to benefit from it.

  • Robert

    I love it!
    Been using it for 2 odd hours now.

  • Mike

    Hi Dave. Thanks for the video. Yea, I find it annoying as well. Also, I’m wondering how that will effect impressions for the ppc ads, do you know? If the results are constantly changing as the user types, the impressions would increase pretty fast which then wouldn’t really be accurate, would they be?

  • Gary the Pool Leak Detective

    I’m always interested in what Google does so even though I’m not a fan of this yet… I’ll give it some time and see how it flies. Great video Dave!


  • Hamant Keval

    Hi Dave – Thats very interesting

    I watched the video but we have not got it in the UK as of yet and its not applied to the .com on Google over here so we’ll have to see.

    I think I am of the same feeling that I dont like search results moving and changing as I am typing but that maybe just me – probably because we already have a fairly good idea of what we are looking for.

  • Dave

    It’s a bit annoying, I doubt it will catch on.

  • Miguel Alvarez

    Google is always coming up with new stuff… this one in particular is in my opinion pure eye candy.

    I’m guessing that it will increase their database queries quite a bit because of all the unrelated results it displays while you type in your search term… but as usual, we’ll have to wait and see if there’s something more to it than just the “instant” aspect.

    Miguel Alvarez

  • Brent

    I think it’s annoying personally. I think simplicity of Google has been a key part of their success. My first impression is that this type of thing is distracting.

    Yahoo went big on this idea, and ultimately lost their edge.

    Brent S.
    Market – Wordpress Shopping Cart

  • Den

    Hi Dave

    Personally I think this could be very helpful

    When I am searching for something, sometimes because I get a wrong result I have to start all over again, this way as soon as you finish a word, a list comes up, I may find what I am looking for sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for pointing out this new Google idea :-) )


  • Stan

    Might be a little bit of a pain in the butt when you are searching, but I look at it as a great keyword tool.

  • BB


    I agree that Google Instant is annoying. In fact, I’ve already turned it off. In the last couple of months I have been using Bing more and more (who would have thought) and am now ready to stop using Google altogether. IMO – time to short their stock.

  • Tim Warren

    I agree with you Dave. I find it really irritating.

  • Cinjon

    I would’ve never known as I rarely ever type in a search – it’s usually a cut & paste of a known term into the search box. The part where it guesses what you’re trying to type with the dropdown from the search box has been around awhile (many keyword tools use that now), but not yet seen where the search results vascillate as you enter letters – Somewhat annoying – we’ll see.

  • Dave Korpi

    It is AWESOME!

    Talk about the “answers” from Google! Holey moley! Start typing anything and then see what YOU want to advertise! Great for long tail!

    Me, I LOVE it!


  • Harsh Agrawal

    This is good when I will be using long tail keywords but for shorter keywords I believe I can type faster than their suggestions…
    Still I’m sure it’s going to be very useful for many Google search engine users.. Nice feature !!! Also it is useful when you making a typo while searching..
    What about you? Do you think this feature is going to be handy for you as well?

  • Faye

    There’s a little “big Brother” feeling here……don’t really want Google to tell me what it thinks I need/want. I can figure it our myself. Thank you very much!

  • michael

    Hi Dave,

    Yesd I find it annoying as, like you, i know what i am looking for. It is like cleaning a clean to use an old expression. Sweepibng the floor after it has been swept.

    Another word for it is, superfluous.

    I tend to use scroogle these days for most of my searches.

    1. It does not include the ads
    2. It does not try to second guess your wants
    3. it does not keep a record of what you are looking for as google dones.

  • Ann

    This is nothing new, I’ve noticed it for quite some time, and is great for keyword suggestions. I really like it.

  • Steve S

    I agree with Dave Korpi, except he didn’t go far enough.

    Personally, I neither like or dislike it, but it’s good for finding longtail keywords that don’t show up in their keyword tool. I just tried it and it showed me 5 different phrases, but only 2 of those showed up in their keyword tool.

    Imagine if you could rank for one of those. When regular non marketers use it, their instinct will want to click on one of Googles suggestions and there you are.

    I can’t take credit for this observation. Someone else pointed it out to me.

  • Ronnie

    It’s just landed on Google UK and I’ve been checking it out… first thing is that it will serve up searches off your first letter so that means large companies get search results very quickly; for instance ‘MSN’ is served up as soon as you hit ‘M’, BBC pages come up the moment you hit ‘B’, etc.
    So it’s probably great for big firms! The other thing is that you need to be signed into Google to use the feature at the moment, not everyone uses a Google account so for now at least, probably most people will be unaffected.

  • lighting cameraman

    this is incredibly annoying – bring back the option of turning off query suggestions as well please or i along with many other will be outta yer!

  • J-Man

    I agree with a bunch of people’s comments. My opinion is that this is great for the average Google searcher, but is going to be a chitstorm for the IMMers and ranking concepts (marketers end).

    This doesn’t get implemented globally for a few weeks to a month I heard (could be sooner or later), just USA and a few other countries have the update.

    As a searcher I both like and dislike this new feature. I like that it helps me, as a writer, to develop new concept leads for my articles, the problem, however, is I type about 100 words per minute and by the time I’ve typed the last letter of my phrase, google only shows me the results I would have seen anyway a second later :) but slow typing, this helps with concept creation and niche finding :)

    It MUST be able to be turned on and off because uniformly nobody really agrees on anything. There are times I’d use it and times I’d wish it would turn itself off.

    I think if Google doesn’t start paying closer attention to it’s actual income stimulators (marketers) who are both ad creators, and ad host-ers, they are going to start to see a problem. Google is a power force, granted, but nobody is immune from being put out of business, and they may never reach that point but what will happen sooner or later is someone, sick of the problem with a brilliant mind, will invent a solution that will make google slowly go extinct… it’s already happening with sites like facebook who are integrating “social Search” which is google on a social pill.

    You tend to get more relevant matches in a social search engine (as a normal researcher), and a lot of buzz is starting to go on about how google is pushing itself higher in earnings but lower on the “emotional bank account” level of a synergy of the masses of individuals. ( is my source)

    Personally, I think I can survive in any market, through any circumstance, and I spend more time learning and growing so these things are moot points, or at least I’m ready to tackle them with real solutions IN my control.

    Have a great day everyone!


  • Nate

    It sucks, hate it. I don’t need THAT much help and the gray text in the search box is distracting.

  • Dave

    Hi Dave,
    I didn’t know this existed until your video, so well done.
    I personally believe Google only does things to increase their profit line, so I reject it to start off, but then, I’m still smarting from the Google banning of websites as I’m not really profficient yet and they don’t take that into account.

  • Jackie

    I have been seeing this for a while now. It is a little annoying that the drop down box doesn’t always go away after you hit enter.

    If I am just doing keyword research and not searching for something for myself then I do get some keyword ideas sometimes.


  • Chas

    I can’t imagine why google would want to increase the load on it’s servers by x10 or x30 queries.

  • Steve S

    Not to get off track, but what I find annoying is the new interface of the Google keyword tool. I’m not sure why, but I find THAT incredibly annoying. I prefer the old interface.

  • Gordon

    Thanks for the quick video.

    It can be handy if your looking for keywords as it will give results based on popular searches, these are quite different from what you might see on adsense keyword tool..

    Just my 10 cents..made my own search site so, don’t need to see it :)

  • Ken

    After 1 day and 1/2, I switched to Bing. This coupled with the news page layout rolled out 2 months ago, is just the last straw. Google no longer cares about what it’s users want or need, or listens to them. Nice going google!

  • OpenMind

    I can’t stand it! It is a distraction. I am switching to Bing!

  • Brian

    Super annoying and distracting. I’ll sometimes forget what I was originally searching for cause all the results pop up, hate it.

  • wilner

    Yahoo tried to do an Instant Search in 2005 and 2006, also with their AllTheWeb page as well, and using AJAX just like Google does with it. It didn’t catch on, apparently they didn’t have the database structure to handle it.
    So it is ironic to see everyone making a big deal about it and Google renting a museum to present it. Frankly, I hate it, so I turned it off, and also started using Bing. But others love it. What I would like to see is whether Microsoft will respond with something similar in Bing. If they do, I hope they give a way to turn it off. Some people will like it, others will hate it. Let the user decide, not the search engine.

  • J-Man

    Here is an article from Mashable where they compared instant vs. not so instant :)

  • Russ

    It appears the J-Man is the only one who commented that really understands what Google search is instant now.

    Its quit simple, people can read the results while they are typing.

    Google tested this extensively and found that people can arrive that the actual results they are looking for much quicker.

    Keep in mind Google is trying to serve a better experience for the average user, not those who do search quarries for research reasons.

    personally I like it because I actually do read the results as I am typing in my search phrase, I can back space if I see results I don’t think are related enough to what I am looking for and then begin typing a new phrase or modify the existing search phrase until I find the EXACT results I am looking for. Beautiful thing!

  • PJ

    Sadly we DO have it in the UK now – and it’s really annoying.

    As usual, it’s a case of the morons at google thinking they’re oh-so-clever just because they’re rich and can create a few internet-related things, and trying to “improve” things but making them worse (as with youtube).

    And no doubt, as usual, they will ignore feedback (they ignored feedback about the annoying “google will select everything for you because you’re too idiotic to choose” autoplay on youtube – rather than change it so it wasn’t pre-selected, they made it more difficult to notice so users would find it more difficult to switch off – and sometimes it CAN’T be switched off).

    Unfortunately due to the way google search works, I don’t seem to have much of an option at the moment as, in general, it finds stuff better than other search engines. Anyone know a good alternative? I hear bing’s goog so I’ll try using that from now on.

  • Phil

    I don’t like it. It causes delays as I’m typing, and the letters on the screen don’t keep up with my fingers. Plus the reasons offered by others above.

  • Andy

    Well, at least I’m not the only one who is tearing their hair out at this apparent ‘time-saving’ trick, which saves me, according to Google, some valuable microseconds. I sent them a long message one night through a suggestions form, and unsurprisingly they’ve not taken heed to any of its contents.

    Firstly, it does not save time. Like Phil above, it does not keep up with your fingers.

    Secondly, it does not save time at all. Say you search, with Google instant switched on, ‘apples’. Then add ‘in’, then add ‘a’, then add ‘pie’. You’ll probably end up on a search result on things to do with ‘apples in a pie’. Switch Google instatnt off and you are sent back to stage one again- ‘apples’. This is such a nightmare when you’ve been searching for a webpage with instant on, going through so many search results, maybe modifying the search criteria and using the advanced search facility, only to be sent right back to the beginning when ou disable ‘instant’. If anything, it has cost me time.

    Thirdly, when you disable Google Instant, you haven’t really disabled it. I regularly delete my browsing history on Internet Explorer so as to keep the hard disk as clean as possible. However, once you delete your bbrowsing history, you are sent back to square one on Google, because it now seems that Google is automatically set to Instant.

    It’s ridiculous. We were happy without it, and we’re unhappier with it. I suggested to Google that Instant be something users choose to opt into, rather than have it force-fed down our throats.

    Unsurprisngly, many months later, nothing has changed…

  • Tomy Egide

    Instant is a huge improvement. Been doing genealogical research today and its helped me find things much more quickly.

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