What Is Google Instant?

Google's just announced Google Instant! They say it's going to transform search forever—making it faster, better, stronger. But what is it, exactly?

It's predictive search...

Should you activate Google Instant Search, you'll start seeing search results as soon as you start typing. You'll also be shown a range of possible queries in grey to refine your options, all before you ever hit the "Search" button.

...that saves you time...

Google estimates that Google Instant will save people an average of 2-5 seconds per search. The reason? We read faster than we type, and predictive search pretty much takes typing out of the equation. If every Google user around the world switched to Instant, we'd save 3.5 billion seconds a day, or 11 hours per second.

What Is Google Instant?

...(unless you're looking for porn)...

While the normal SafeSearch filters—like those used in Image searches—apply, Google Instant draws the line at "pornography, violence and hate speech." Which means that when you try to autocomplete a generic "porn" search, you're stuck with this:

What Is Google Instant?

...that's already here for some users...

What Is Google Instant?


There's a good chance you've already got Google Instant up and running, but if not, don't feel too left out; it's going to take a couple of days for the service to hit all Google users. And a bit longer than that to hit mobile—Google says that it's not available in the immediate future for phones, but that it should be coming in the next few months. Ditto for the search bar in your browser. In any case, if you don't like it you're not forced to use it; next to every search box will be a link that lets you turn Instant off or on as you please.

...and has at least one neat trick up its sleeve.

When Google Instant is activated, the right arrow key acts as the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. Glad to see that a healthy sense of adventure has been maintained.

What Is Google Instant?

Illustration by Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page.