back to article Google's 'instant' search springs keyboard controls

Google has introduced keyboard navigation to Google Instant, its "real-time" search engine, and though some users quite like it, at least one big-name search-marketing outfit sees it as yet another way the service is hindering search-marketing outfits. This week, as it expanded Instant to additional Google search services, …


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  1. Jeremy Bresley

    No keyboard scrolling

    Am I the only one who frequently uses the arrows/page up/page down to scroll a page? How soon is this option going to have a checkbox to disable without completely disabling instant search?

    1. David Eddleman

      Friggin' yes!

      The first time this came out and I tried scrolling up and down the page with my arrow keys, I wondered why the page wouldn't scroll. Then I noticed the blue arrow and how it reacted.

      This is probably the worst 'improvement' Google's made to search. Not everyone uses one window and one tab for anything. With the prevalence of tabbed browsing, I often open multiple tabs of the same search results just in case the first isn't what I was looking for.

  2. demo


    "First, we’ve introduced keyboard navigation to help you explore your Instant search results using just your keyboard, with no need for a mouse or touchpad."

    So i can be elite for pressing my page down key.. Because nobody else knows how to?!


  3. Wintermute

    Here's an idea: Why not let web browsers navigate web sites?

    Wow, look here everyone! Google has invented keyboard navigation! This is such an innovation!

    To paraphrase "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'" we could say "Those who are ignorant of web browsers are condemned to reimplement them in javascript, poorly".

    Okay, ridicule aside, here is my beef with Google's keyboard navigation: This feature belongs in the web browser, so that you can use it on any and every website accessible on Earth. I know of at least one Norwegian web browser which has had full keyboard navigation for more than a decade.

    It's a pity that the ignorant masses need Google to hold their hands like this.

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge


    In konqueror: tap <ctrl> and a letter appears over each link. Type the letter to follow the link. I mostly use it to defeat stupid web designers who like to make links invisible. Lynx and Links both have excellent keyboard navigation.

    Back in the dark ages, when I still used Microsoft, you could fix problems like "Mouse not detected, click here to change" with the keyboard. I cannot remember the buttons, but they worked in almost everything including IE. Has this been <i>fixed</i>?

  5. Robert E A Harvey

    dislike adds

    I pay so I don't have to put up with adverts.

    I'd give google a pound a month to search without ads.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      Dislike ads? Try this.

      That'll be a pound. Ta.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    combine this with backspace navigation

    And you can be completely fucked.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    I'm starting to like BING more and more

    Sorry Google but "instant" search don't do it for me

    1. ad47uk
      Thumb Down

      Bing is King

      but I thought you have to be logged into Google to use instant search? i have not used google for nearly 5 months now, i prefer bing as well.

  8. Harry Percival
    Thumb Down


    no vi keybindings? boo.

  9. Mattyod


    but we already had keyboard navigation. Tab & Enter keys anyone?

    1. Stuart Halliday

      Normal people need not apply

      Ordinary folk don't know how to use the tab or enter keys...

      Have you ever watched people navigate using a mouse on a form based page?

      You're screaming out for them to use the tab or enter key. But they never do. :-)

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Fortunately HTTPS doesn't have this crap

    if this ever comes to the HTTPS version of Google, I'm going to use Adblock and Greasemonkey to block it.

    Obviously Google is starting to run out of ideas.

  11. Gordon Barret

    Google Instant

    I'm not too fussed about Google Instant, I think it was great when various keywords would appear as you typed anyway, which helped you narrow down the results. No need for the whole page of results to change.

    However - is it here to stay?

    I remember reading about it in El Reg a few weeks ago, saying it was coming to the UK shortly, and one of the comments said it was already here.

    Well it wasn't for me for a couple of days, then it appeared, but then it disappeared again, and the google page went back to the previous version without instant!

    Then it was up and down every other day for a few days but it has been up for a few days now

    so maybe it is finally here to stay ...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Clever of them to make it look like a disclosure triangle

    which not only cannot be clicked, but also gives no indication as to what it's doing there and I certainly wouldn't immediately have thought to turn to the cursor keys to manipulate an element of a web-page without first being prompted to.

  13. TonyHoyle

    So that's why I can't scroll down in search results any more

    Well done google... in the space of a few weeks you've gone from a simple web page that produces results to an unusable javascript mess.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Again with the lack of configurable

    Again, I'm all for options, but "configurable" options...not "foisted upon". Yes, I know it's free, yes, I know I can't argue - but I didn't notice the "little blue arrow" - but I did notice the lack of scrolling when pressing down. I attributed it to something else nicking focus (which it was) but didn't see what.

    All these things should be optional, and NOT stored in a cookie - if I login, ala GMail, I can choose https or http. https clocks up CPU hits both ends - whereas instant search clocks up bandwidth usage both ends - but I can only "set" one which will persist after a cookie deletion.

    Again, well done to the UI design team who thought about this - but for those people who use laptops with mousepads (like me), I like to choose my input medium. Yes (before some comments about "Page Down") there are other keys, but on *some* laptops, some keys require ALT/FN options to work - like this keybd I'm using now requires to keys to get "End" functionality.

    Since instant search came in I'm using the browser search bar (which provides configurable 'instant search' functionality) more than the google UI.

  15. Paul Slater

    Lost on a non-touch-typer

    I really can't see any benefit from this at all for people who don't touch type. I've been looking at the keyboard as I type for over 25 years and I'm not about to learn touch-typing any time soon, so all these instant suggestions are lost on me until I've finished the search phrase. At best, they save me one key press (the enter key).

  16. unitron

    a plethora of standards

    "...until you actually hit the enter key, which freezes the search-results page...."

    So, instead of using the pause/break key, they've decided to change what you used to get when you hit enter?

    With friends like that...

  17. Richard Cartledge

    I like it

    I quite like this and prefer SPACE BAR to scroll down (on Mac OS).

    but I hate the new google image search. With multitouch scrolling it's just a mess, as the pointer drags over images as they cascade up and they inflate and deflate all over the shop.

    Sadly, many of these websites have been taken to their evolutionary conclusion and yet the idle hands of their developers are now making mischief. ebay is another fine example, ruined by continuous meddling from bored staff.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    Clever name?

    The problem for me is that the cup of coffee next to the keyboard acts as a handy reminder that, no matter who makes it, "Instant" is always shit......

  19. The BigYin

    Google has ads?

    Since when? AdBlock, CustomizeGoogle and NoScript are your friends.

    What I really need to do is write a GreaseMonkey script (or something) to remove the crap results (like "ExpertsExchange", I am not a member, I will probably never be a member, I do not want those results).

  20. Penguin herder

    Not for me

    I am (rapidly) disliking instant search. I heartily second the comment that auto-completion of likely search terms is very helpful, but the business of actually updating the results is really a pain. I might have to sniff around for a competitor.

  21. Doug Glass

    What Instant Search?

    <sigh> Try this; no instant search ... for now.

  22. FerretOfDoom
    Thumb Down

    Google Instant...pfft

    Not unlike Instant Coffee or Instant Tea, Instant Google also leaves a bad aftertaste.

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