Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Google Ditches the Old Search Button and Puts ''Suggestions'' on Steroids

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 51 comments

It's auto-complete on steroids.

Visitors to Google's U.S. homepage may have noticed a slight change to the way the search engine operates. The company has ditched the search button and is instead taking people directly to the results page with a new feature called Google Instant.

Revealed today at an event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Google's Marrisa Meyer also blogged about Google Instant, explaining the concept to users. The idea is pretty simple. Instead of having to type your search terms into the box and hit search to see the results, Google will show you the results instantly, and update them as you type. Google Suggestions still appear in the drop-down menu to help you with your search.

Meyer explains that though it may seem like the idea is kind of redundant, ("No one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]"), Google Instant doesn't actually show you constantly updating search results for exactly what you're typing. Rather it predicts the most likely search and shows you those results. Say you type 'Tom's H' into Google. Google Instant will immediately pull up the results for the most popular search associated with what 'Tom's H.' Google will then show you what results you're looking at, by autocompleting the rest of the search term, with the additional letters in grey.

Check out the example below to see how it works:

Google Instant seems like a simple progression from auto-complete but plenty had to be done behind the scenes to make it possible.

"To bring Google Instant to life, we needed a host of new technologies including new caching systems, the ability to adaptively control the rate at which we show results pages and an optimization of page-rendering JavaScript to help web browsers keep up with the rest of the system," explains Meyer. "In the end, we needed to produce a system that was able to scale while searching as fast as people can type and think—all while maintaining the relevance and simplicity people expect from Google."

Google estimates that the new instant search feature will save users a combined 11 hours per second. Yowza!

Display 51 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    TunaSoda , September 8, 2010 7:14 PM
    * This feature only works if you are signed in to your Google account *
  • 19 Hide
    dman3k , September 8, 2010 7:01 PM
    good luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...

    t-i-t-0_0-l-e
  • 14 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 8, 2010 7:51 PM
    dman3kgood luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...t-i-t-0_0-l-e

    I tried that, safe search off and typed in tit
    ...
    first entry was Titanic
    then Titp (tea in the park)
    then Titan
    ...
    I guess to really have to put an "s" on the end to get what you are looking for...
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    dman3k , September 8, 2010 7:01 PM
    good luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...

    t-i-t-0_0-l-e
  • 4 Hide
    azcoyote , September 8, 2010 7:03 PM
    Not a fan so far...
  • 7 Hide
    TunaSoda , September 8, 2010 7:04 PM
    I'm the only one I know so far that this works for hmmm
  • 20 Hide
    TunaSoda , September 8, 2010 7:14 PM
    * This feature only works if you are signed in to your Google account *
  • -1 Hide
    mhelm1 , September 8, 2010 7:36 PM
    Let me guess, more space for ads and less for real results.
  • 3 Hide
    hellwig , September 8, 2010 7:38 PM
    I think auto-complete is fast enough, why bother with this? I can't imagine the load this must put on their servers.
  • 1 Hide
    thechief73 , September 8, 2010 7:42 PM
    I use google for searches and prefer it much more than any other engine, and I think the auto-complete is good enough and very usefull. Although I have an iGoogle page setup for all my weather, tech news, and email all in one place, and this feature doesnt work there.

    How much time does this save one person doing one or two searchs?
  • 14 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 8, 2010 7:51 PM
    dman3kgood luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...t-i-t-0_0-l-e

    I tried that, safe search off and typed in tit
    ...
    first entry was Titanic
    then Titp (tea in the park)
    then Titan
    ...
    I guess to really have to put an "s" on the end to get what you are looking for...
  • -2 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 8, 2010 7:51 PM
    I shut it off. I didn't like it, though I'm sure it will be useful for other things. So I may turn it back on.
  • 2 Hide
    Socnom , September 8, 2010 7:55 PM
    Quote:
    Google estimates that the new instant search feature will save users a combined 11 hours per second.


    So... If you use it long enough you will get younger. Is this the result of a fountain of youth plugin?
  • 4 Hide
    volks1470 , September 8, 2010 8:04 PM
    damn, it works well. Really quick too.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2010 8:05 PM
    even with safe search off its censoring the instant results
    i am surprised google did this. think of how many more querys it has to do now. such a feature would cripple any regular web server.
  • 5 Hide
    Bolbi , September 8, 2010 8:29 PM
    Quote:
    Visitors to Google's U.S. homepage may have noticed a slight change to the way the search engine operates.
    A bit of an understatement. I was really surprised at first, but I like Instant. Can't imagine what'll happen when my less-than-tech-savvy relatives see this. ("Google's broken!" "Do you think I have a virus?") :D 
  • 6 Hide
    gm0n3y , September 8, 2010 8:59 PM
    I think this is pretty cool and certainly a natural evolution of the auto-complete concept. I'm sure it will take some time for Google to tweak it and for users to get used to it, but I can see it being useful eventually. They're just always trying to stay ahead of the other search engines (yes, apparently there are others out there).
  • 1 Hide
    sliem , September 8, 2010 9:13 PM
    I like it.
  • 6 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , September 8, 2010 9:14 PM
    I don't really understand why people are complaining... the auto complete still shows suggestions just as it used to, and once you have typed your whole search the results you see will be the same as if you pressed the search button. At worst it saves you one click of your mouse without changing how you'd normally use the search engine.

    Weird what people will bitch and moan about.
  • -3 Hide
    Stifle , September 8, 2010 9:16 PM
    Soon Google will be able to display search results for what it thinks you want to search for. . . before you type anything.

    I just invented a new way to advertise products. . . win
  • 5 Hide
    toastninja17 , September 8, 2010 9:21 PM
    I honestly freaking LOVE this, it's so much better, regardless of how much of a little progression it was. I can search faster and more efficiently, this is just AWESOME!!
  • 4 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , September 8, 2010 9:25 PM
    LOL,

    having just tried it out for myself, I noticed two things, one of which should really be noted in the article.

    The search button has NOT been ditched... it's still there (it's even on the piccie in the article), and most people I expect are used to just hitting enter, which of course still works.

    As for safe search, with it off any word that is pornographic doesn't show up as or auto-search result, results show up when you hit enter (or press search) as usual.

    Basically all this amounts to is the ability to have auto-show results on or off... big wow. It IS only a small change, the way people are going on you'd think they'd done something major!

    Cancel your orders for 5000 crates of bottled water, and put the keys to the bunker back on the shelf, this isn't the end of the world.
Display more comments