In September of 2010, Google rolled out one of the most hyped search feature, called Google Instant. 7 years later, Google has decided to kill it.
It seems no one took notice of this development, as we assume, very few people actually used this feature. First spotted by SearchEngineLand, Google has now responded, and explained why they took this decision.
As per Google’s statement, it seems that changing user-behavior vis-a-vis search has forced Google to take this extreme step. And this development also suggests, what lies ahead in terms of usability of search engines and portals, in general.
Google Instant: The Unwanted Feature Which Was Overhyped?
Google Instant was a search feature, in which, Google showed the results of keywords, as it was typed into the search bar. Users were not required to press ‘enter’ after typing the whole search phrase.
Thus, if you are searching for “India’s independence day”, Google Instant enabled instant search results as you typed “India”; then the search changed when you typed “Independence” and so on.
Here is a video, describing Google Instant.
Google Instant was hyped as ‘Realtime Search’, with ‘speed’ described as the feature to boost searches. Users were no longer required to press enter, and the searches happened instantly.
But, it seems that things didn’t work out the way Google planned.
There have reports of funny, and often embarrassing search results as well, due to Google Instant.
Imagine a person trying to search ‘fuschia’ which is a flower. As he types ‘fu’, Google Instant would have provided results related to the famous four letter word starting with ‘Fu’, and the whole purpose failed.
Very few people actually used Instant, as the search results which came via Instant were mainly incomplete as the search phrase wasn’t complete yet. Searchers preferred to either turn off Instant, or complete typing the whole search phrase, and then press enter for the actual search.
However, it seems that the main reason for killing Instant…is their focus on mobile.
Google’s Explanation For Killing Instant
As per Google, more than 50% of searches originate on mobile, and the very functionality of Instant doesn’t support mobile searches. It would be really odd to refresh the tiny mobile screen with search results after every word was typed.
In a statement, Google said, “We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.”
Right now, ‘Search Suggestions’ feature is still active, wherein Google suggests keywords as you type the search query.
But Google Instant, as we knew it, has died.
Did you use Google Instant for searches? Will you miss it? Do let us know by commenting right here!
"Google Kills Instant Search; Here’s Why Google Pulled The Plug On This Feature…",