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Google launched Google Instant in September 2010. By predicting the phrase as you typed and dynamically changing the results as the predictions changed, Google boasted that Instant could shave from 2 to 5 seconds off the time it took to complete a search and promised that it would revolutionise the way we search. 3 months later, is Google Instant working?
I have put together a short unscientific survey that should take about 10 seconds to complete: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KC8C2YW
Please fill it in and I'll collate the results in a blog post next month.
Google's purported desire to know what you want before you know it yourself seems to be manifested in predictive search, whether Schmidt was joking or not. However suggesting a site based on your first keystroke goes little way to resolving the issue they identified of the average searcher taking 9 seconds to consider their search before they begin typing. Prediction like this clearly has most relevance to mobile users and adds very little value to keyboard users.
Although it is the most visible effect of using Google Instant, results that change as you type is a disorientating experience. Like most people who have worked in front of computers for a long time, I type quickly and I've seen Google Instant displaying a result I want as I'm typing my query, but by the end the result I want isn't there.
There is a wow factor to dynamic on page changes, but I would query the value of this particular innovation. However, because of the wow factor, I can't see it being reverted.
Without sight of Google's site analytics, it is impossible to tell whether search has indeed become a more streamlined process and whether people are finding what the need quicker. However, personal and anecdotal evidence suggests this is not the case.
Let me know your thoughts: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KC8C2YW