walkman - 10:26 pm on Sep 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
^^ Instant was designed by the team that looks after the user interface and Google's "look". They are separate from the search team and probably talk to them even less than the Adsense team talks to the search team.
When they designed it, all they probably thought of was how cool it looked. And it does look cool - but it also interrupts the searcher when they type in queries. Which means that the searcher may stop too soon, and go off on a tangent, and thus get a set of results they didn't actually want (though the results served up may tie perfectly with what the little bit that was typed in).
Google is not a "joined-up" company. All their departments appear to function autonomously.
Alysa, personally I don't buy that. No doubt they have autonomy as in no supervisors checks them every 10 minutes on what they are doing but no $150-$200 BILLION company does that. All these are under "Search" and they have one executive that reports directly to the CEO. The idea that search quality will fill the web with posts bragging about improving speed by a few milliseconds and "users first" only to have the UI team ruin it, just makes no sense. The fact that Google made Instant and Personalization virtually mandatory shows that it's working perfectly for Google, and it must be worth all the negatives.
Remember, this is not some obscure product the higher ups may not know, it's the only one that makes money for Google and one that Googlers too, use it every single day. So, I'm thinking that personalization and instant are very profitable for Google.