Google Ditches the Old Search Button and Puts ''Suggestions'' 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!

  • dman3k
    good luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...

  • soo-nah-mee
    ...and no more bouncy balls today. What will Google slow down my netbook with tomorrow?
    I think I'll just stick with the address bar search in Chrome or the search box in Firefox.
  • azcoyote
    Not a fan so far...
  • TunaSoda
    I'm the only one I know so far that this works for hmmm
  • TunaSoda
    * This feature only works if you are signed in to your Google account *
  • mhelm1
    Let me guess, more space for ads and less for real results.
  • hellwig
    I think auto-complete is fast enough, why bother with this? I can't imagine the load this must put on their servers.
  • thechief73
    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?
  • back_by_demand
    dman3kgood luck searching for words like "title" with safe search off...t-i-t-0_0-l-eI 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...
  • Gin Fushicho
    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.