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What is Google Instant?

Google Instant is a brand new search widget that shows the results as you type. Google says "We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type."

The most obvious change is that you see the right content faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even click “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want.

What are the benefits of Google Instant? 

Search Faster: The tool predicts your search by showing results before you have even finished typing, Google Instant claims it can save up to 5 seconds per search.

Smart Prediction: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, these predictions can help guide your searches. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right there. Until now, surfers had to type the full search term, hit enter, and then view the results. With Google Instant results show immediately as you are typing.


Q: Can I turn Google Instant off?

A: Yes: If you don't want to see instant results as you type, turn off Google Instant by clicking the link next to the search box on any search results page.

Q: Where will I see Google Instant?

A: Google Instant is starting to 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. Please note, users on domains other than can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account. New domains and browsers will see this enhancement rolled out over the coming months.

Q: Will Google Instant slow down my connection?

A: Google claim that Instant will not slow down your Internet connection, the additional load this tool creates is tiny when compared to other types of web services such as streaming content. For example, when displaying new results as you type, Google Instant only sends the items on he page that have changed, without updating the static bits.

Q: Will this affect my rankings?
A: No, this change does not impact the ranking of search results.
If you are a Brick client, attend our next workshop and we'll explain more about Google Instant and how our customers can use this to their advantage to make sure they are appearing as visitors search Google.