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Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. 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 get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “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. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.
The chief mandate of design thinking is empathy -- and I'm pretty sure Google's engineers didn't have too much empathy for all those over the age of 28 who don't find it all that useful to have their eyes assaulted by information they weren't looking for in the first place.
[edited by: tedster at 7:04 pm (utc) on Sep 11, 2010]
As the name suggests, this all happens instantly. It's the internet on fast-forward, and it's aggressive – like trying to order from a waiter who keeps finishing your sentences while ramming spoonfuls of what he thinks you want directly into your mouth, so you can't even enjoy your blancmange without chewing a gobful of black pudding first.
Google Instant Scores 98% Adoption Rate, 2% Opt-Out
...have Google users shunned Instant as a disruptive technology, or welcomed it as the new template for the way we search the web?
The answer to that question, six months later, is emphatically in Google's favor. According to Ben Gomes, the lead engineer on Google Instant, the engine's newest feature has had a remarkably small attrition rate: Roughly 98% of users are using Instant, leaving around just 2% of users who have opted out.