back to article Google Instant – more searches, less thought

Google is on a mission to make web search as fast as the human brain will allow. On Wednesday morning in San Francisco, as she unveiled Google Instant, a radical overhaul of the company's search engine that updates search results as you type, uber-Googler Marissa Mayer called it "search at the speed of thought." We can safely …


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  1. Daniel Evans

    Well, nice idea

    And the implementation seems a bit less idiotic than some I've seen.

    But as with all "update as you type" things, it ends up being an annoying page that keeps flashing at me, whilst I try to ignore it and actually type in what I'm searching for.

    Thanks, but I'll stick to the little search box in Firefox.

  2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    Big Brother

    Welcome to Google, Mr Pott.

    We have determined that you would like to buy a new Dell Server (only $2999). The estimated time of arrival is three days via Purolator. Your credit card has been charged appropriately, and includes $342 for shipping in addition to $250 brokerage and customs.

    Thank you for using Google. We tell you^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h know what you want before you do.

  3. bod43

    What a joke!

    The idea that Google, who recently slowed my computer down to the speed of thought of something less capable than an ant, could provide something of the scope decribed is laughable.

    The recent CPU sucking Google logos is I think a clear and unambiguous indication of their priorities. It is not what you want but what they want that matters.

    They think they have the right to determine what your computer does, and it is not what you might want it to be doing.

    I have used the google home page as my home page for over 10 years (1998/99). No longer. I have no need to dedicate my PC to meaningless trickery. Unless the shareholders can recover control of google from the Teenagers who are running it, they are going to lose their money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you're using firefox....

      NoScript stops all of Google's foolishness leaving you a nice unencumbered search box and no logo nonsense.

    2. Calum Morrison


      You could just turn it off.

      1. Moyra J. Bligh

        Google Instant – slower, and more moronic than before

        The option to turn off the moronic auto-suggestions went away when they enabled their new feature for Morons - Google Instant.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      you're an idiot. shareholders losing their money? what planet do you live on?

      if there's a bunch of people who can deliver this, it's google engineers.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    "search at the speed of thought."

    Ain't no typist in the world that can keep up with my thought process. Which, given the myriad of eclectic crap in my head, is probably just as well.

  5. Myopic Aardvark

    "Will click on more ads"

    I've been googling for years and I've never once clicked on an ad accompanying a Goggle search (that right hand column might well not exist for me).

    Unless the interface is suddenly getting more confusing, why would I be clicking on more ads?

    1. Dave Murray

      Not the only ads

      The right hand column does not contain the only ads on the page, those "Sponsored Links" at the top of the search results are ads in results clothing. Sounds like the user interface has already confused you enough that you've clicked on some ads.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      What ads?

      My ad blocker removes them all.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    To turn it off without killing scripts

    (Because killing the scripts breaks google maps big time!)

    From the google page, hit 'settings' in the top right corner, select 'search settings' from the dropdown, and scroll all the way down to the section 'google instant'.

    Select 'do not use' and it returns to the sensible operation.

  7. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Just what I don't need

    <cite>"W" delivers search results for "weather." "New york" — or even "new" followed by a space — delivers results for "New York Times."</cite>

    As someone who lives in the UK and has little interest in New York and what goes on there, I think I can do without this.

    I bet most of us have had conversations with annoying people who constantly butt in because they think they know what you're about to say (and they're generally wrong). Looks like Google have automated the process.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      > As someone who lives in the UK and has little interest in New York

      If only there was a with searches biased towards UK specific results.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    So what?

    I love it when the big boys release something and pretend it’s never been seen before, Apple and the tablet device now Google and auto complete on a search box. Just about any bloody site you visit tries to be "helpful" and offer search suggestions.

    Sad thing is the press often acts as if it's something we have never seen before too.

    Place your bets for the next new discovery, my money is on Apple inventing the netbook once the tablet sales start slowing down.

    1. Davos Summit

      "Place your bets for the next new discovery"

      I'll have a hundred quid on you discovering you've read the article wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spot on

      Exactly what I have been thinking, both google and apple.

  9. blackworx


    I mean, I'm no fan of Google but that's a bit of a knee-jerk over reaction is it not? Firstly, I wonder how many of these people will actually stop using Google altogether and never go back (less than 5% is my guess) and secondly, what the hell are they doing using the Google main page anyway? Don't they use their browser's search box like everyone else?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stop using google

      I have stopped as of today


  10. Naughtyhorse



    waste of time

    thats all

  11. Bilgepipe

    What's their Angle?

    Yeah, but what's in it for them?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: What's their Angle?

      >> Yeah, but what's in it for them?

      Ad impressions. There are three things to consider: First, that displaying ever-changing results as you type equates to the user searching multiple times in a row. This exposes him to more ads (each search result is presumably for different search criteria) in a short time.

      Second, that the distraction may lead to users not finding what they are looking for--that is, unless Google Instant is really *that* good and actually guesses what it is the user is searching for.

      Then third is the placement of the ads themselves. "Sponsored Links" occur at the top of the page, right below the search box. So, while users are typing in their criteria, they are exposed to more advertisements in a prime location.

      Now, Google claim that they only charge for a click-through, not ad impressions; but as the article suggests, ad impressions influence the click-through rate and the overall weight of advertisements themselves. This means that, with more impressions, the click-through rate may be higher, therefore earning them more money.

      Another possibility not even considered by the article is that Google can eventually change their model to an impression-based on. They could be doing this right now, negotiating with their partners regarding how to best exploit the additional impressions they will surely get.

      In short, what's in it for them? More money, of course.


  12. sdebank
    Thumb Down

    Chance for Bing

    Seems to me Google Instant is just a development of autocomplete. I went to disable autocomplete and noticed the option to turn it off has been removed. On their help forums an employee states:

    "'s in keeping with our vision of a unified Google search experience to make popular, useful features part of the default experience, rather than maintain different versions of Google. As Autocomplete quality has improved, we felt it was appropriate to have it always on for all of our users."

    In a way they are insulting the user as being too dumb to use a search box.

  13. JDX Gold badge


    I normally know what I'm searching for and it takes more like 5s. I can't see this being useful for me, though the auto-suggest box is nice. For regular users wasting their work-time on Google, maybe.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This alternative turns it off

    I use it as my search home page.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    done and disabled

    I hit that at 4am this morning...and the first time, thought i mistyped, closed browser, open browser enter, check spelling, press enter. start typing. i think my eyes are screwed up, even though i wasnt seeing kaleidascopic distortions yet. thenI noticed the little button to the right of the search bar, clicked it,


    I wish they'd do that sort of shit at noon gmt-7 so that I don't keep running into them when i'm not at my best.

    p.s. anyone know what kaleidascope eyes is a symptom of?

    1. AceRimmer1980

      Re: anyone know what kaleidascope eyes is a symptom of?

      Being called Lucy, and being in the sky while having diamonds.

      1. BorkedAgain


        First proper grin of the day. Nice one, Ace!

    2. Sureo

      kaleidascope eyes?

      You're gonna have a dandy migraine headache soon.

  16. AceRimmer1980

    Coming Soon..

    Google Quantum - you get the search result, before you started typing.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    For google "i pod" is the same than "ipod".

    "According to Google, the average search takes about 25 seconds, and about 24 of those tick by while you're either typing keywords or deciding which result to choose. I"


    I have to admit I've found what I'm looking for usually in first page of links. . But the other option is never. In both cases I get thousands or tens of thousands of results, most of them totally irrelevant and not even containing the search terms or concepts, ie. pure noise.

    Search engine which gives >99% noise isn't very good, no matter how fast this noise is generated.

    Often it returns some relevant links, which is better than 100% noise but I'd rather have 10 links and 3 of them relevant than 10 000 links and 4 of them relevant.

    Also Googles habit to discard the difference in spelling, spacing and big or small letters is extremely annoying: I _know_ what I'm looking for and Google returns everything which looks or sounds about right. And there's no way to stop that s**t.

    And no: " I pod" _is not the same than_ "Ipod". Except for Google. The idiots.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    calm down

    Come on people.

    It's a search engine.

    The feature can be turned off, you could use Bing, you could use the search box in Google toolbar, Firefox, or Chrome.

    Personally, I quite like it, it makes Google seem more responsive to what I'm looking for.

    A feature change as big as this was always going to cause upset amongst those who like things to remain static.

    I personally applaud Google for having the balls to change their search engine in such a significant way after all this time. I do think people will come round to this.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Change for the sake of it

      Go back in time before Google was popular and search engines were annoying. Going on Yahoo would pop up big annoying adverts and the page was full of numerous links.

      It seems Google are gradually moving towards being the cluttered annoying search engine.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Giles Jones

        ...and oddly enough, Bing is getting really useful. I converted to Bing about a month ago. I have used it pretty exclusively since, but I will be honest when I say I have had reason periodically to go back to Google. I am batting around the idea of writing a Sysadmin Blog article on it. Anecdotal comparison of both engines as relates to IT and non-IT searches. (I consider IT searches as those required to help me discover the source of errors, either in an IT Operations context or a PHP development context.) Additionally I could talk about user uptake of Bing (or lack thereof) during the latest network overhaul.

        I do have two slots to articles left for which I don’t have topics…I am unsure if I want to burn one on Search Engines though. What do you guys think?

  19. as2003


    ...from a technical point of view. I was never able to get my head around how they search billions of websites, millions of times a second. And now, with this auto complete, they'll be massively ramping up that number of queries.

    Hats off to them I say.

  20. Lghost

    @ace rimmer ;-))

    you made my day ..twice ..nearly laughed myself into a coronary ;-)

    Cheers ..

  21. Robin Szemeti

    For maximum amusement

    Try typing "is it wrong" into Google, and behold the suggested awesomeness of the auto-completion ... which i presume is (rather worryingly) based on popular searches ..

    I'll get my coat [% insert auto-completed phrase here %]

    1. Ragarath

      Oh dear.

      I so was not expecting that. Good find.

  22. illiad

    the problem with noscript....

    ... is that is seems to be made for geeks, by geeks... If you have URL for a simple user giude, or even better a much simplified version similar to or using adblock, where you can see the scripts, and select them from a list, it would be better!!!

    and translate WTF the fancy words mean....

    Of course there is 'yes script', but that is chronically basic .... :( :(

  23. Paul 87

    All this "intelligent" design....

    ... is effectively eroding our distinctive and unique natures. More and more I see programs that take away options and instead provide us with a "smart" interface that ensures we all more or less present ourselves the same way.

    With Google putting this feature in, they'll guide results towards the ones that make them the most money, and leave other interesting but less profitable avenues wondering where on earth all their traffic has disappeared to.

  24. James 5


    This instant search thingy appeared by default on my google page.

    It got most things wrong (the same reason I switched predictive text off on my phone) so I've switched the damn thing off - in fact I've started using Yahoo.

    Useful if you're one of the growing number of Totally Brain Dead or Thick As Shit population. Otherwise use your brain !

    Google is becoming the menace most science fiction writers have been warning us about for decades </rant>

  25. kwhitefoot


    When I type I get (I'm in Norway). This pisses me off. The stupid thing is that if go to then it is what I get. Why is there no google.en? (Yes I know en is not an ISO country code).

    These days I usually use then I can turn off cookies and scripting without losing the ability to search in my preferred language. Ixquick also allows you to save settings in the form of a url instead of a cookie.

  26. mittfh

    Firefox Start

    Just append /firefox to your favourite Google domain (e.g.,, etc.) They haven't got around to implementing Instant Search on the Firefox Start Pages yet (and they work in any browser - including Internet Exploder!)

    Of course, if you try searching from the results page, you'll get Instant Search back on.

    Alternatively, find another search provider...

  27. Ben 81

    porn ...

    apparently the suggested sites don't extend to the blue side of the web ...

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