Google Instant is essentially a predictive search, you begin to type what you’re searching for and Google predicts what you’re going to search for and begins showing you results. If these results are not what you wanted just continue to type and your Google results will change with you. You will also be shown a range of possible search terms to help you refine your options, this will all happen before you press the “search” button. There are a wide range of pro’s and con’s for this tool:
To begin with Google Instant saves you time, it predicts what you want to search for before you’ve finished typing which will save on average 2-5 seconds per search. We read a lot faster than we type, and Google Instant basically removes the need to type. In real terms if every Google user in the world uses instant we’d save 11 hours of time per second. Google automatically uses “Safe Search” for Google Instant, for example if you begin to search a phrase which Google believes will end in something violent or pornographic Instant automatically disappears. This is a great feature for a number of reasons, the most prominent being a small child trying to search Google and spelling the beginning of the word they’re looking for incorrectly, there’s no chance of Google finishing the search for them and them stumbling across X rated content.
The “I’m feeling lucky” button is a great addition to Instant, when selected it will take you straight to a webpage which Google thinks will answer your search term. Though it is really nothing more than a gimmick it is an interesting add on for those adventurous information searchers among us.
There are however cons; Google Instant uses a lot more bandwidth than just a normal Google search because it’s having to actively predict search terms, this could be a problem for some users. Some users have also commented that Instant could waste as much time as it saves, for example if you start to search a term and instant distracts you by bringing up a different range of times. There is a huge potential for procrastination, and afterwards you’ll be none the wiser about the subject you originally tried to search for.
Google Instant may also hurt smaller websites in terms of decreasing their traffic. As a user starts typing the phrase they want to search, if Google predicts a more widely searched term the user could click on it and it may bring up a completely different set of results. Not only stopping some websites receiving organic traffic but causing problems for SEO experts by limiting key words and making it less likely for users to click through to the second page of results.
There is an argument for both sides, however if you are a non-believer then it is very easy to turn Google Instant off. So really, all’s well that ends well.