The search giant Google launched the Google Instant on Wednesday. “It’s not quite psychic but it is very clever,” said Othar Hansson, one of the Google engineers that developed the new search mode, to a crowd of press, analysts and Googlers at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Wednesday morning.
“It’s a fundamental shift to search, the speed and ease with which people can find information,” said Melissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience at a news conference which Google itself streamed on YouTube.
Part of what Google Instant does is predict the search terms you are going to type. A single letter “w” might auto-complete to “weather.” Weather results, based on your location, then instantly show up on the search page – no hitting return or the clicking on the search button. “We can predict what you are likely to type and bring you those results in real-time,” said Google’s head of search Marrissa Mayer. “It is a much faster search, an easier search, we can provide results in real-time before you have had a chance to type your query.”
From today, Instant is available to all users on google.com in English and to signed-in users in Germany, France, Spain, Italy. Russia and the UK, which of course also speaks English. Other countries, such as Japan, will get Instant in the coming months. Instant works on Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8 and Instant can be found here now.
While some other Google efforts, including Buzz and the company’s own Nexus One phone, have stumbled, search remains king for Google and it’s crucial for it to remain king of search. Google has about two-thirds of the search market in the United States, but is facing slighty eroding market share from Yahoo, which has teamed up with Microsoft.