These experiments are especially interesting because YouTube has a completely different search platform: it is more entertaining and visual than general “text” search. People use it differently and for different purposes than they do with regular search.
Before we take a look at the existing Youtube Instant attempts, let’s first see how actually Google Instant works.
- Google uses its Suggest algorithm to try to “guess” what the searcher is going to type;
- It auto completes your search term while you are still typing (letters in grey) and instantly shows results for that auto-completed term;
- Search terms and search results are changing while you type;
- If you stop typing and start looking through the results (or just get distracted), Google takes you to the actual results page you were at that moment.
So what could that look like if we tried to transfer similar functionality to YouTube?
1. YouTube Instant
Youtube Instant, a successful start-up by a college student which brought him overnight fame, takes a bit different approach to how it could work:
- It does use YouTube Suggestions to guess the user’s intent. So while you are typing, the tool digs into YouTube-powered search suggestions and performs a search based on the top suggestion.
- Instead of showing search results for the guessed term, it shows the actual video (the video which is ranked #1 for that search term on YouTube).
So, if you managed to type “somew” or “somewhere“, the tool will “guess” that you might be looking for “Somewhere in the rainbow” (as this is probably the most popular search starting with that combination of characters) – then it will instantly search for that term, grab the top video for it and show you the result. How instant is that?
So, if that were Google, it would rather be called “Google I am Feeling Lucky Instant” – because instead of instant search results, you get an instant result.
2. YouTube Instant Greasemonkey Script
This is a Greasemonkey script that attempts to replicate Google Instant behavior (but it works only from the home page).
The huge problem with this one is:
- It does instantly take you to search results but it does NOT take into consideration YouTube’s search suggestions;
- The tool instantly searches for what you managed to type in the search box:
The script does have some potential but with current functionality, it didn’t appear really useful to me.
3. YouTube Loop
YouTube Loop does the best (but still not perfect) job replicating original Google Instant behavior:
- It uses YouTube Suggest to auto-complete the search box query as you type (and it works pretty quickly);
- BUT: It instantly shows search results for what you have managed to type (not what it suggested in the search box).
So which one is the most usable for which purposes? What’s your take on YouTube Instant?