September 08, 2010- http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978505328
Banking on the fact that people read more quickly than they type, and that they have once again designed a feature that will change the way the world searches for information, Google has launched Google Instant.
Instant provides real-time potential search results based on each letter typed into the query box, and works with lightning-quick speed.
Currently Google claims that Instant “saves two to five seconds per search” and “will cumulatively save people more than 3.5 billion seconds every day, or 11 hours every second.” Was searching taking us all too long before? Was it, say, so tediously long that it was preventing us from spending time with our families or volunteering at our local charities. Not likely. However, there are those who would say that faster is always better.
Still, there are bound to be skeptics, many of whom will and are saying that Instant is merely a ploy to make Google look more cutting-edge, without necessarily representing truly large changes in how Google “organizes the world’s information.” In fact, Google itself admitted that “While the behind-the-scenes engineering that generates those results is a big reason Google gets the majority of searches, it can be hard for average users to notice. The instant results make this much clearer.”
PC Mag compared Google Instant to Bing’s Type Ahead functionality, which has been in place for a while, and found that Google Instant doesn’t necessarily come out on top. Specifically, reviewer Lance Ulanoff mentioned “Google Instant, for now, only works when you’re signed in and may be using some search history to intuit results. It combines type ahead with live results, while Bing only offers you a list of probable word matches. Still, the word matches in Bing are pretty solid, and if Google Instant is showing you a page you weren’t interested in anyway, then what’s the value in it?”
For the skeptics, cynics, and those with sensitive eyeballs, Google Instant does offer the chance to opt out (hint: look to the right of the search box, see the blue link reading: “Instant is on.” Click that), as Gadgetwise reports along with other tips on how to use the new feature.
As Gizmodo reported on the announcement event, Google Instant will be available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8 starting today. Additionally, it is not yet available on browser toolbars or for mobile phones. That rollout is expected to occur in the coming months.
Every new browser innovation that is announced also reminds us again about the delayed promise of the “answer engine,” embodied most famously by the “computational knowledge engine” introduced to us by the Wolfram Alpha people a couple years ago. Answer engines such as Wolfram Alpha, launched in 2009 are supposed to collect and organize all of the information from authoritative databases and engines to obtain the answer to a specific question. In other words, the next step was supposed to be to skip the list of search results, and to send us straight away to the answer backed up by authoritative and well listed information.
Clearly Google has not yet come to adopt that model of search engine, and Wolfram Alpha has not yet even begun to compete with Google’s search market domination. Alas, as users we shall all have to be satisfied with how much faster we are delivered the search results that Google supplies, and follow the progress and promise that answer engines still have yet to deliver on.
Looking for more about Google Instant? Check out Google’s YouTube video about Google Instant.