Today, Google announced the implementation of their new search enhancement called “Google Instant”. Google Instant shows results as you are typing and tries to predict the keywords as you type. Type a single letter and you will get a drop-down box that changes as you enter more letters. If you were online yesterday and noticed Google’s logo made up of moving balls you might have wondered what was up. They would only say that it would be a good week. Now we know why.
The predictive nature of this search feature works very quickly. Type in one single letter and you get a list of keywords and phrases in a drop-down box below the cursor starting with that letter. It is supposed to be tied to the user’s search habits but I haven’t noticed a difference whether I am logged in or not. Perhaps the search preferences are tied to a cookie on my machine that does not matter whether you are logged in. More research will be needed to see if that is true.
I did notice that the search results appear to be tied somewhat to your location. Here are the single letter suggestions that I discovered for the alphabet. A = “Amazon”, B = “Best Buy” and so on… Craigslist; Duke Energy; Ebay; Facebook; Gmail; Hotmail; Ikea; Jungle Jims; Kings Island; Lowes; Mapquest; Netflix; Ohio BMV; Pandora; Quotes; Reds; Sears; Target; USPS; Verizon Wireless; Weather; Xavier University; Youtube; Zoomtown. You may be able to tell that I live near Cincinnati as some of the these suggestions are not national search terms. Jungle Jim’s is a very unique local supermarket and Kings Island is our local amusement park (great coasters, by the way).
Google Instant isn’t available everywhere just yet. Google is starting its roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. Users on domains other than Google.com can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account. Google will add new domains and languages over the next several months.
The benefit to Internet searchers will be that the people who hunt and peck as they type will be able to skip a lot of typing and click the phrase they want. Google believes this will raise the bar by providing searches more quickly. I believe the real benefit will come when Google Instant is available on a mobile platform where typing can be unbelievably slow and predictive search terms would be a tremendous benefit.
For Google AdWords customers, your ads will be displayed when a user stops typing for 3 seconds, the user clicks the search button or by simply moving the mouse onto the page outside the search form. This may lead to an increase in the number of impressions you receive for your ads. It is hard to predict what this new way of searching will do to the popularity of certain keywords. I think Amazon and Best Buy should be pretty happy judging from my test run above. It will be interesting to see the impact of this change as marketers begin to study the impact of this innovative new search feature.