On the 26th of July Google announced that they would be removing Google Instant immediately. Google instant is the feature that shows you search results as you type. “Car In” would autofill to “car insurance” and the results for the whole phrase would appear. These results would change if you typed a different phrase. Google often experiments with different search results or features and this can be considered one of their longer projects.
A Google spokesperson revealed that:
“We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.”
This statement indicates that the way people search has changed since 2010. More than 50% of searches now occur on mobile devices. Mobile devices have many different screen sizes and formats, which would make this feature quite difficult to implement and seems to be more hassle than it is worth.
Another aspect to mobile search is the increased use of Voice Search where users tend to use make longer phrases and speak more naturally when searching. A phrase like “best Dubai Hotel” becomes “what is the best hotel in Dubai?” This longer phrase makes an instant result much more difficult to predict.
As we say goodbye to Google Instant, we look forward to the next Google experiment.