Google Instant is a 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.
Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.
Did you know:
- Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.
- Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
- If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.
- 15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Can I turn off Google Instant?
A: If you don’t want to see results as you type, you can turn off Google Instant by visiting your Preferences page.
- Q: Will Google Instant slow my Internet connection?
A: We anticipate that Google Instant will not slow your Internet connection, and we plan to automatically turn it off for very slow connections. Even though we are serving more results pages, the additional load this enhancement creates is very small when compared to other types of web services such as streaming video and online gaming. We’ve also worked hard to minimize the amount of data that is sent and received during the search process. For example, when rendering new results as you type, we only send the parts of the page that change, without updating the static elements, such as a the page frame around the results.
- Q: I love Google for its simplicity and I usually know what I want to type. Is Google Instant just a distraction for me?
A: With Google Instant you don’t lose any of the functionality that you know and love about Google. If you want to type your full search term and hit enter, that still works just as it always has. Even for the experienced searcher, though, instant feedback can help you narrow in on the precise results you want, which may have taken several searches before. On top of that, we estimate that about half of your searches will be returned in net zero time because the results you want will appear before you finish typing.
- Q: If an offensive or lewd word is a fraction of my query, will Google push these results in front of me as I type?
A: As always, we provide options to filter the content you see in search. You can choose to set SafeSearch to filter out explicit content, and parents can lock SafeSearch to the strict setting. In addition, autocomplete excludes certain terms related to pornography, violence and hate speech. Learn more about SafeSearch.
- Q: Does this change impact the ranking of search results?
A: No, this change does not impact the ranking of search results.
- Q: Is Google Instant available on mobile?
A: Yes, Google Instant is available as a beta feature on Android 2.2+ and iOS4+ in most of the domains and languages in which it is available on desktop. You can turn on Instant by tapping the link on the Google.com home screen.