Google is killing Instant Search, which rendered search results in realtime as you typed. The problem, according to Google, is we all now do most of our searching on smartphones , and Instant Search makes no sense on smartphones. So killing the feature is the only sensible option.
Google introduced Instant Search in 2010, with then-vice president of search and user experience (catchy title) Marissa Mayer, calling the feature a “fundamental shift in search”. At the time it felt quite innovative, and capable of shaving precious milliseconds off of searches.
Everything Has Changed Since 2010
However, fast-forward to 2017 and the search landscape feels very different. Now, more than half of all Google searches happen on mobile devices. And Instant Search has never really been a thing on smartphones. This changing of the guard has prompted Google to kill Instant Search.
A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:
“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.”
Google will still autocomplete searches as you type. However, it will no longer load the results for those searches. Most people probably won’t even notice this change as they would keep typing rather than scroll down to the relevant search results as they appeared. In fact, many people turned off Instant Search as they found it more of a hindrance than a help.
Rendered Obsolete By Innovation
Instant Search once felt like the future. But now, with almost all of us reaching into our pockets for our smartphones when we want to find something online, it feels like it belongs to a bygone age. This is innovation in one area rendered obsolete by innovation in another area.
Have you ever made use of Google’s Instant Search results? Were you even aware this was a feature? Will you miss those precious few milliseconds it saved you on occasion? And do you buy Google’s reasoning for getting rid of Instant Search? The comments are open below…
Image Credit: Frankieleon via Flickr