Google Goes Instant

Speed has always been a top priority at the web’s favorite search engine, but has Google gotten ahead of themselves in their efforts to prove how quickly they can return information?

Over the last few days, Google’s live servers have rolled out a new functional update to the search engine.  Now, instead of just populating a list of recommended searches when you start to type in your query, it will actually start to display the search results for your most likely phrase.

If there’s any change in user behavior at all, it would be toward shorter queries of one and two words instead of longer more specific searches.  When the result they’re really looking for pops up on the screen, it is less likely that they’re going to keep typing in more words.

There was another big change – the final appearance of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that helped make your searches into a blind adventure.  Most people end up at the top result anyway, but at least by removing the option to skip the intermediate screen Google should be able to deliver some extra page views to the advertisers who are bidding for that search phrase.  Everyone involved with Adsense & Adwords should make a tiny little extra fraction of cash on that change. If you were a fan of the Feeling Lucky button though, it could be a sad day as this is definitely the end of an era – or at least a quirk that helped define the era of Google’s ascension.  Correction/update: I guess it wasn’t worth it or the world wasn’t ready yet – “Google’s I’m Feeling Lucky” button is back!

For most web owners and online promoters, these changes probably won’t have to much impact on day to day business.  Long tail might be slightly devalued, but the competition for single-word keyphrases is still kind of ridiculous and there doesn’t seem to be too much change in users’ search behavior yet.  If anything, this change kind of helps people who aren’t too sure of what exactly it is they’re looking for.  Far from being just a search engine, Google is using thought webs and instant results to turn in to a more authentic “browsing” experience.


  1. hey John,
    I didn’t realize that the “I feel lucky” button was RIP. 🙁
    I’m seeing a lot of discussion over the “instant results” thing, but my feeling is that google suggest was the big game changer, and this will be pretty minor.
    I think I read a while ago that 75% of searches used ot be unique (a string of words that had never been searched for before). I wonder what it is now. I’m guessing that google suggest and now google instant is really moving people to search for what other people have already searched for, and that the percentage of unique searches is shrinking. Have you seen anything on this? Steve

  2. Hey how is it going? I was wrong about the Feeling Lucky button – or at least Google decided they were wrong to remove it so they’ve put it back in. I’m kind of glad to see it there again, even if I never use it, it is just a familiar part of the web at this point in time 🙂

    I definitely agree though, I think the auto-suggestions were probably the bigger game changer here and the instant results are kind of just a natural evolution to that. Personally, I find it a little distracting but it doesn’t seem to change my own searching behavior one way or the other.

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