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Did Google Go Instant Just To Show More Ads?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the faster-than-the-speed-of-marketing dept.

Advertising 250

eldavojohn writes "Google, already the largest search engine in the United States, went instant a few weeks ago. MIT's Tech Review asks why Google went instant and is skeptical that users actually look at search results before they finish typing their query. Othar Hansson, Google's lead on the initiative, informs them otherwise and claims that Google's traffic monitors didn't even blink at the extra data being sent across — primarily because of its insignificance next to streaming one video on YouTube. Hansson also reveals that Google's search engine is no longer stateless and therefore takes up a little more memory in their server hives. The Tech Review claims that 'sources at the company say Google Instant's impact on ad sales was a primary focus in testing the service. Google only gets paid for an advertisement, or sponsored link, when a user clicks on the ad, and ads are targeted to specific searches. By displaying a search's ads onscreen a couple of seconds sooner, the frequency of users clicking on those ads could only go up.' So money seemed to be the prime motivator and the article also coyly notes that the average length of time a user spends between typing in any two characters is 300 milliseconds — much too fast for old JavaScript engines. Of course, you might recall Google's efforts to change all that with JavaScript speed wars. Do you find Google Instant to be useful in any way, or does it strike you as just more ad gravity for your mouse?"

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Search (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636744)

I do most of my search via the Chrome address bar or on my mobile, I didn't even notice this feature existed. Thanks for the awesome clean browser interface and faster JavaScript though Google :)

Re:Search (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636796)

According to a bug [google.com] filed, Google Instant is coming to the Chrome omnibox... I personally like Google Instant. :)

Re:Search (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637354)

I like it, too, but I've found myself using their HTTPS connection more than anything as of late. I do, however, switch back to the standard Google (with instant search) when I need a specific kind of search like for images.

Re:Search (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636978)

Agreed, similarly most of my searches are from the search box in Firefox, I rarely go to the actual Google page anymore. And when I do go to a Google page it's my iGoogle page which does not seem to have instant enabled. About the only time I see instant is if I am at a search results page and go to change the search on that page.

Re:Search (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637108)

I use iGoogle too, but from work I've had occasion to use the instant search for a while. It really is useful in my experience. It sort of feels like the autoprediction has made a big leap forward (although that could just be the perception).

Re:Search (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637012)

Same on Chrome for my laptop, but it has given choices there for a while or I just didn't notice the switch.

I am actually someone who does pick from the drop down choices if it finds what I am looking for before I finish typing on Google.Com.

Re:Search (3, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637280)

I do too, but I actually like the instant results when i end up on a google.com page.

I can quickly look at the top 3 or 4 results scrolling down the suggestions. Previously I would have to guess which suggestion was best and search.

Not earth shattering, but not the useless annoyance I thought it would be. It makes it slightly easier to find the correct search term before wading through results.

It just can't be. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33636746)

Google is good. Only Microsoft is bad.

No, not useful to me... (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636752)

... and I've switched to the advanced search page.

Re:No, not useful to me... (3, Informative)

Shanrak (1037504) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636972)

the https page works too, or you can just disable it in the settings tab.

Most of the time when I accidentally go to the none https page, I find instant search annoying since I usually know what I'm searching for and I'm done typing before most of the page finishes spazzing out anyway.

Re:No, not useful to me... (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637162)

Thanks for the info. I've turned it off, and Google is now usable again.

Re:No, not useful to me... (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637870)

I'll stick with the advanced page for a while as the suggestions here are what you have typed before, not what are fetched from google. It reminds me of some old time and I kinda like it for now.

Wrong (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636770)

By displaying a search's ads onscreen a couple of seconds sooner, the frequency of users clicking on those ads could only go up.'

By displaying ads for shorter periods of time, click frequency will actually go down.

Re:Wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637304)

They didn't say the click through rate, but frequency of clicks. Meaning x clicks per day, as opposed to x clicks per hundred impressions. They were most certainly correct, and I see nothing wrong with what Google has done here.

Re:Wrong (5, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637494)

Doesn't work that way.

You type

big

and you get a list of "big" sites and "big" ads

you continue to type

horse

and the results and ads change to "big horse" sites

you finish typing

breeding

and you get results and ads for "big horse breeding" which is the same as you had before.

---

Looks like google is hoping some users notice and click on the "big" and "big horse" ads.

NEWS FLASH! Google Makes Money On Ads! (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636780)

Google doesn't make money by selling searches to "end users", they make money by selling ads. So this new "functionality" is a surprise how?

What ads? (3, Insightful)

tibbetts (7769) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636782)

What are these "ads" of which you speak? Sincerely, Just Another AdBlock user

Re:What ads? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636890)

And you call your PC a "boxen" too, right?

Re:What ads? (0)

forkfail (228161) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637052)

Boxen is the plural of box. Thus, saying "a boxen" has no meaning.

Re:What ads? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637492)

No, it isn't. Boxes is the plural of box. Boxen is a quick way of saying that you are the sort of person who gives elitism a bad name.

Boxen -- Vaxen (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637946)

If you're a "True Nerd" (TM)** then you'd know that the colloquialism "boxen" was derived from another colloquialism "VAXen" which came from the olden days (1970's - 1980's, even into the 90's) of computer science when Digital Equipment Corporation still existed and made a line of minicomputer called the "VAX". If you had more than one VAX system, the plural became known as "VAXen", derived from Old English use of the suffix "-en" tacked onto a noun to denote plural. This name came to be due to the fact that virtually all VAX sysadmins back in those days were mostly a bunch of goofy wierdos who still lived in their mothers' basements well into their 40's, never got laid, and seemed to live perpetually in a fantasy world composed solely of Renaissance Fairs.

Re:What ads? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637070)

No, but maybe he calls two or more of his computers 'boxen'.

Re:What ads? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637180)

Nerds use boxen to prove their nerd-cred. Calling your computer a "box" is nerdy enough for most non-nerds.

Re:What ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637654)

Much better than calling it a "hard drive" ;-)

Re:What ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637538)

Of course not! "Boxen" is plural, and I typically use one PC at a time.

All bets are off for those uber-nerds who use multiple "boxen" at once.

Re:What ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637568)

What are these "ads" of which you speak? Sincerely, Just Another AdBlock user

What a strange post... I never feel smug if I'm freeloading.

Re:What ads? (1)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637942)

And how do you feel about calling the process of filtering out unsolicited pieces of information from a server you didn't even choose to visit "freeloading?"
Maybe smug is the word you're looking for. Oh, wait...

Turned it off (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636786)

I turned it off the moment it showed up. I know what I'm typing in and I want to search on the whole set of words. All google instant did was make it look like google going through some sort of fit.

Re:Turned it off (2, Interesting)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637068)

Same here. There was an about link and a description of how to disable it that I searched for (pardon the pun) as soon as they turned on instant searches.

Re:Turned it off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637384)

That's not a pun. Irony, maybe, but certainly no pun.

Re:Turned it off (1)

Sardak (773761) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637760)

I didn't even need to turn it off, as apparently it doesn't work for me for whatever reason. However, if it did, I would turn it off from what I've heard about it. I type relatively fast and generally know exactly what I intend to type before the page even loads, so it's a fairly useless feature. Let me know when they allow verbatim searches. I'm really tired of it mangling my quoted strings to offer more results that have nothing to do with what I searched for.

Profit! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33636794)

Oh my god, Google wants to make money from it's advertising arm. This is shocking news, we should all boycott them now for someone who provides all services for free.

Re:Profit! (5, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636994)

and did I just read that Google wanted to boost JavaScript performance so they could show ads faster? Those evil people! I'm going back to Internet Explorer and BING were things are slower and never evil.

LoB

Re:Profit! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637244)

Came here to post this.

Google is a company which makes its money through advertising, which it sells by making free services (this bit costs money) that people find useful and putting ads in them, in an unobtrusive way and generally useful way.

OP seems to have a problem with this business model, and the fact that Google is a business not a charity. This makes them a complete and utter retard.

Re:Profit! (1)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637640)

Came here to post this.

...

I think everyone did.

Google is a company which makes its money through advertising, which it sells by making free services (this bit costs money) that people find useful and putting ads in them, in an unobtrusive way and generally useful way.

OP seems to have a problem with this business model, and the fact that Google is a business not a charity. This makes them a complete and utter retard.

I don't understand how paid commercial ads could ever be "useful" to those exposed to them. Thankfully there are things like Adblock Plus.

Re:Profit! (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637168)

Advertising is not just an "arm" of Google. It IS Google.

Re:Profit! (0)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637242)

Oh my god, Google wants to make money from it's advertising arm. This is shocking news, we should all boycott them now for someone who provides all services for free.

I certainly get that they are in the business of making money. (Aren't we all?) But with how much they attempt to and actually track me I'm just not comfortable with giving them all of my info anymore. You see this with almost every (large) company out there: they start out with a pretty good product that sprang from some ideals (other search engines suck, interfaces for devices should be simple). They truly seem to want to improve products and experiences for people while making a buck to boot. They continue with these ideals to the point where their product becomes the top of the market. Shortly thereafter a subtle shift in priorities happens: making the buck moves to the top of the priority list. Then begins the long slow decline, and pretty soon they're just another run of the mill large company that is out to see just how much money they can wring from their customers. I see it over and over. It's sad.

I just shut it off. (1, Informative)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636802)

The instant feature was annoying and useless.

I find it annoying (5, Insightful)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636810)

I turned it off as soon as I figured out how.

I don't want results before I even finish formulating my search request. It's distracting and confusing: a burst of visual noise while I'm trying to focus on what I'm typing in the search box (which I may decide to change as I'm typing it).

Why do I want to read results of a search that doesn't even represent my complete inquiry?

Re:I find it annoying (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637016)

It moves a lot of text around. Its an extreme visual flicker, and also, if you're fast with the mouse on machine with high load or occasionally hit the keyboard, you cannot click the correct links anymore. Turned off at least until they preserve locations of the lines of text and links while typing.

Re:I find it annoying (3, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637026)

Contrarily, much as I like the "suggested searches/autocomplete" feature to help refine my searches, I also like seeing the results for the parts of my search as I type. Frequently, I'll see the results I want before I even finish typing.

On the other hand, it bloats up the search page, but it can be turned off when I'm using an older computer.

Re:I find it annoying (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637058)

>>>Why do I want to read results of a search that doesn't even represent my complete inquiry?

It sometimes saves typing if Google guesses what you're typing halfway through. That could be useful for users, but I turned it off for a different reason: It slows down Dialup, ISDN, Cellular, and other slow connections to a crawl.

Re:I find it annoying (3, Interesting)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637062)

It seems like it is more annoying for those who touch type faster. I can see it being useful if you are a slow typist, but for me I turned off. The most annoying "feature" is it will do the search on the first predicted result that is on the dropdown list. So you type in the first couple words, and the search results are based on the next one or two words that they think you were going to type, which is nothing like what you were looking for.

Re:I find it annoying (5, Insightful)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637122)

Exactly. I ABHORE this new feature with a fiery passion. The fact that it's on by default is annoying, and the fact that you actually have to start typing in the search box in order to even turn it off is more annoying... but the fact that once you turn it off, you lose your query and start over from scratch just tops it off. I rage every time.

One of the reasons I used Google over other search engines before was it's simplicity. There was no huge annoying banner ads or other distractions. Now there is.

It may be time to venture out and try some others once again.

Re:I find it annoying (3, Interesting)

catbutt (469582) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637226)

Once you turn it off, it stays off. Is that really such a problem that you had to turn it off once per computer?

Re:I find it annoying (4, Interesting)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637414)

If your browser is set to clear cookies every time it closes, then you have to turn it off again every time you start using Google in a new browser session.

Re:I find it annoying (2, Interesting)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637426)

Once you turn it off, it stays off. Is that really such a problem that you had to turn it off once per computer?

Because it's once per session, yes, it is indeed a problem.

Re:I find it annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637784)

I am also very put out by this feature. As an example for why it's so terrible, I was searching for some SQL subselect help at work the other day (natch, I'm at work now...). The first search I tried started out "How to insert..." Google instant helpfully popped up image search results for "How to insert a tampon". Google: NSFW (beta).

Re:I find it annoying (2, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637798)

Nimey's Internet Observation #1: People who write a word in CAPS to emphasize it nearly always mis-spell it.

Neither. (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636822)

I actually didn't notice any more ads, and usually this doesn't actually make my searches any faster.

Who cares? They made JS faster (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636840)

They made boggy shitty web apps faster, so who cares?

I actually find in moderately usefull (3, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636846)

in so far as I don't have to keep on hitting return.

It means that typing a few letters at the start of a search instead of having to type out the full phrase is sufficient sometimes to pull up the necessary results. It also makes it quicker and easier to tweak a search for slightly different keywords, or to browse through the auto-suggest searches.

No Surprise (1)

dugn (890551) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636886)

Show me a company that isn't doing something to drive more revenue and I'll show you a company on its last legs.

Re:No Surprise (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637024)

Show me a company that isn't doing something to drive more revenue and I'll show you a company on its last legs.

The reverse isn't necessarily true: http://www.ampedriders.net/ [ampedriders.net]

Not for everyone (3, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636888)

I personally find Instant Search an awesome feature. However, it seems to conflict with an experimental search feature I love (namely, the keyboard shortcuts), so until Google introduces a version that supports both Instant and keyboard shortcuts, the latter feature wins.

neat but annoying (1)

danno666 (1905102) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636896)

its neat and annoying at the same time. as long as there's the option for turning it off its no problem. rather smart business decision.

I turned Instant off almost immediately (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636908)

I turned Instant off almost immediately. JavaScript speed was not the issue. Seeing a screenfull of "jumpiness" was just "loud" and obnoxious. I didn't like the aesthetics of it.

You still get hints in the text drop-down, even without Instant. Those are useful.

Re:I turned Instant off almost immediately (1)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637046)

Precisely!

It's exceedingly distracting and a general nuisance.

I use it, sometimes unintentionally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33636920)

I dont know what their reasons for creating the instant search was. However, there are multiple times that while I was typing my intended search, the results I wanted appeared before instant search finished loading my completed query. Once the page loaded the last word I typed, my wanted result had disappeared. Who knows how many extra queries it would have taken me to find what I wanted. I was able to see about 3 searches take place while I typed. So I had 2 extra searches take place, one of which was not my intended search but it did find what I wanted. So I do find this new feature helpful.

It's amusing. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33636924)

I like google...but having spent ungodly amounts googling anything and everything: I know how to get the results I'm looking for. It's a cute trick but I think it'll be mostly lost on the slashdot crowd. The payoff will be for people who aren't good at understanding search methodology and work a computer consistently slowly...because you can actually see what makes your search get the desired results and what derails it.

As for google's intent, this strikes me as some developer with a little extra time doing something for shits & giggles. People liked it. So bam! I'm interested to see how it might be implemented into things like youtube.

I could also imagine some pretty cool functionality if implemented into the google code search.

Bling Bling, Baby (3, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636946)

Given the complete uselessness of the feature (as described in TFA), I always figured instant search as just being some bogus bling that Google can use to show how they're staying ahead of alternatives like Bing. Even phrases like "gone instant" reek of marketing slime.

The truth is that Bing, even with as few people around here that use it, really is working on keeping pace, or even surpassing Google in some areas. Microsoft's recent demos of their sliding [slashdot.org] and composited [slashdot.org] street-view, for example, were pretty impressive.

Hopefully Google has some real new features in store and hasn't fallen to relying on completely useless visual gimmicks to keep customers. Recently their work on improving search has been to make their text fields and buttons too big and to waste CPU cycles with stupid instant search. Whee.

Re:Bling Bling, Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637362)

Sometimes Google has better results, sometimes Bing. But I use Bing because Google already knows far too much about me.

No, totally. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636962)

unlike before google instant lets me instantly not click on ads instead of having time to consciously not click on them.

Has anyone polled how people reacted to this? (1)

rs1n (1867908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636974)

I'm just curious how many of us who use Google on a regular basis has already turned this feature off. From having read the 20 or so posts here, it looks like a "vast" majority.

Just another pointless gimmick (3, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33636996)

I don't even see this 'feature', nor the annoying and distracting 'fade in' effect launched a few months ago. NoScript handily takes care of that junk for me. And I've switched off suggestions in Google prefs, which means I don't have to look at what other people have searched for as I'm typing in my own search criteria. Now if I could only find a way to permanently switch off Web History - I refuse to open an account with Google, (aka 'Big Brother'), just to be able to disable this, ewpecially given that I don't trust Google to fully disable it even if they say they have done so. In my experience, when a company starts down the road of intrusiveness, invasion of privacy, and excessive 'eye candy', they've usually come to the end of their tenure as true innovators. I suspect that Google will slowly become less and less relevant over the next 5 to 10 years, just as Microsoft has in the previous decade or so.

Increases keyword bids, not click rates (5, Insightful)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637044)

My take on Google's rationale is this; Now I'm a small-time Adwords advertiser in my day job, which gives me a little insight into how the ad empire runs.
For the uninitiated, Google sells the ads on a per click basis, with the price per click decided with a keyword auction. So, if one was in the business of renting out monkeys, one might bid for "monkey rental", "monkey hire", "hire monkeys in Smalltown" etc etc.
Popular keywords (eg "monkey hire") will cost more per click than less popular keywords (eg "short term monkey rental in Tinyplace"). Savvy advertisers might spread their bids to avoid overpaying for the highly competitive search terms and get some cheaper clicks in the 'long tail' of obscure searches.

This is where 'instant search' comes in. Say a user was seeking to rent a monkey and begins typing in Google- "Monkey.." with the intention of typing "Monkey leasing in Anothertown". Google suggests (and loads the results page for) "Monkey hire". User thinks 'okay' and uses the results page for "Monkey hire" to select a result or ad to click on. Repeat this process across X users. The result is that the proportion of users who 'search' for popular keyword combinations increases, as many will settle for whatever Google has suggested. The total number of ad clicks will stay roughly the same, as there will be the same number of people searching. The bid price per ad click will increase, as unpopular keywords become even less popular and users are nudged towards the most common variations. Google profits.

Re:Increases keyword bids, not click rates (1)

blackfeathers (1881726) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637146)

i was thinking along those same lines. because an ad shows up quicker, it may change to another ad as the user continues typing. it can be speculated on whether that first ad would even show up in the first place, how much of an advantage or disadvantage would this be to the advertiser, and the bigger picture of how this would impact adwords altogether.

Re:Increases keyword bids, not click rates (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637258)

According to Google's information for Adwords users, ads only count an 'impression' (view) if its on the screen for 2 seconds or more, or the searcher clicks something else on the particular iteration of the page thats displaying the ad.

More ad impressions help Google but only very slightly; more impressions for the same number of clicks = lower clickthrough rate, which means that Google can decrease an advertiser's "quality score", which will increase in a small way the amounts they have to bid to appear.

Re:Increases keyword bids, not click rates (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637444)

You present a good point, but I think there's one issue with it.

Those suggestions seem to be sorted by frequency of searches, so what you're getting is *more* common and less obscure searches (and ads) early on as you type, and gradually gets more specific and (probability-wise) more obscure as you finish your search phrase.

Instant search doesn't happen when using iGoogle (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637094)

If you have a customized Google homepage (an iGoogle page), you don't get the instant results. Most often, that's fine for me. As I've worked on others' PCs however, I've noticed the behavior and have found it useful. It doesn't always get it right with the first word, but once it does, I just stop typing and select my preferred link. Admittedly, it took me a number of uses to get myself to stop typing my search term, but once I felt comfortable that the results were comparable (or even identical) to the results I'd receive typing in a full string of terms, I adapted quickly.

I think most people can catch on, and it can save time. Only time will tell, however.

Selling Ads is what Google Does (3, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637140)

Wait...a company (Google) that makes a profit by selling stuff (advertisements) has introduced a technology that enables them to sell more ads? Unpossible!

Meh? (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637144)

I'm surprised people still type in www.google.com anymore. All of my google searches are through the address bar, in which case, Google Instant has little impact on me.

It slows down my typing (1)

Trevin (570491) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637186)

and typically the search results aren't relevant until I've finished my search phrase.

Motivation (1)

domulys (1431537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637192)

"... So money seemed to be the prime motivator ..."

And here I thought they were just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts!

Annoying (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637240)

I use Google less and less. Mostly type where I need to go by url now. The "instant" crap is never close to what I want and just a way for Google to show who paid the biggest bribe.

It's like an annoying little brother... (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637276)

I try to avoid using it. I haven't quite gone to shut it off, but I find it quite like a little brother: it interrupts, thinking that it knows what you're saying before you finish. Only in this case, it knows what you're typing. And just like the little brother, it's wrong a majority of the time. I'm sure that--like the little brother--I'll eventually say "shut up and let me finish", and turn the feature off; especially if it comes to the Chrome Omnibar.

Hasn't hit Canada yet? (1)

KazW (1136177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637284)

I don't think it's available in Canada yet, even after visiting www.google.com/instant/ and clicking "Try it now" all I get is the drop down box like with google suggest... Any Canadian Slashdoters given this a shot yet?

Google instant required a media event? (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637296)

Apple is the king of media events, and is also the king of making a big deal out of something small. To me, Google voice in Gmail was far more significant world wide than Google instant, so where was the major media event for that? All these great tools and then you go make a big deal about Google instant? It never added up for me. It seemed like they were trying to take a page from the Steve Job's book of marketing, but to what end?

And of course article has to hit me with the giant "duh" hammer. Google is trying to figure out a balance between annoying users and getting as many ads out there as possible. So you type in "New York" on the way to "New York metropolitian opera" and you get ads served up about new york. Then New York Metro, then New York Metropolitian. Each time, there's a small chance something might catch your eye. Targeted ads, quietly slipped in, hoping you'll notice as you search and maybe click on them. Millions of people world wide use Google. Most of them will not click on ads, but some will, and that's all Google needs is for some people to click the ads.

The media event was more a practice event to notify investors and ad buyers, not the public at large. Get the word out to people who buy and sell and have money. And practice doing this like Steve-o does, in order to compete with his RDF. Steve has been pushing iAds lately and explaining how iAd can reach millions of iOS devices. Gotta start getting the word out on Googleriffic features that make money.

Nixed instant pretty quickly (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637298)

I find Instant not only cumbersome, but at least in the workplace downright disruptive. It will automatically display hits even if not remotely related to what you're searching for, because you goddamned haven't finished typing yet.

Just try "is it wrong" in a Google search box and see what it loads.

Now imagine you were at work and your boss was looking at your screen. You'd have some explaining to do on why you're searching for ways to commit incest.

May lead to a cascade (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637306)

There's already an effect by which Google Trends and Google Suggest to drive traffic to a popular search phrase. This may make it worse.

Google Suggest "suggestions" are based, not on Google search results, but on Google Trends, the most popular searches in the last hour or so. Thus, if a phrase with likely first few letters gets near the top of Google Trends momentarily, it appears in the search boxes of large numbers of users, many of whom just pick top phrase. That's how long, unlikely phrases make it to the top of Google Trends.

I had a program tracking Google Trends for a while. The Trends system is clearly being spammed, as a form of "search engine optimization". Occasionally, an unlikely phrase which clearly aims the user at a specific site will surface. The life cycle of such a spam is about 45 minutes.

Adding command completion to Google's search box should accelerate this effect.

Summary phrased differently (1)

Philodoxx (867034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637396)

"Did company add feature to product to make more money?" Google is a corporation with a duty to its shareholders to try and increase profits. If they release a function to their search engine that both increases its utility to users and lets Google generate more revenue: what's the problem and why is it newsworthy?

For the record I really like the instant search. Generally I don't get my search terms right the first time. The quick feedback to search terms is really nice.

Noscript is my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637412)

I simply love noscript.

I did not even notice this new feature thanks to it (yes google is not allowed to run scripts on my browser by default).

Click on Ads? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637416)

Does anyone actually click on ads?

What? (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637424)

This is an entire slashdot discussion filled with people who apparently have no idea that Firefox has a "Google Search Bar!" embedded in the upper right hand corner. Or that chrome's address bar is in fact a "Google Search Bar!" also. If you're using your browser correctly, you shouldn't even run in to instant. Therefore, it's completely useless. Come on guys, back me up here, you're starting to scare me.

Re:What? (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637804)

My primary searches come from the right-hand corner search bar. But when I tweak those searches, I'd rather go to the box in the middle of the screen than the top right. As a side note, I have disabled that damn annoying instant search. Maybe it would work if it was on a timer that changed every 10 seconds or so rather than every character I type. All it does is add noise to the search.

I like it. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637430)

I find it's pretty useful on multi word searches. I get instant feedback on whether it's looking like my search will return the sort of results I'm looking for. I find it's mostly helpful with tech support type searches where one word doesn't return good results, but a synonym does.

At best it's annoying (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637472)

I find the argument that "instant search" may help people rather specious. We've seen numerous evidence that people don't multitask well - if you try to view search results as you type, it just interferes with your ability to type quickly (and this was my experience with "instant" as well). So most of the time I just tuned it out; when I noticed it at all, it mostly was just a "oh look, it's returning results for an incomplete set of terms" sort of thing that was not useful at all.

It also bugged me that using "instant" reset my search list to 10 items instead of my preferred 100. It's true that, when searching for some specific page, the one I want is usually right at the top of the list. But just this weekend I was searching for info related to one aspect of x264 encoding, and I knew I wanted to see a lot of results so I could scan through and compare multiple takes on it. For me, anyway, this sort of thing works better with the longer, single-page list of results from Google.

I like 100 results/page. Instant RESETS to 10. (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637526)

My idea of efficiency is getting 100 results per page. I often need to look at more than the first ten results to find what I'm looking for, and if I'm really researching something I make go through several pages of 100 results each.

I wanted to give it Google Instant a fair try, but gave up when I found that there seems to be no way to keep my preference for 100 results per page while using Google Instant. Merely turning on Google Instant cuts the number of results down to ten. Worse yet, if you then turn it on, your results per page remains at ten for regular searches.

Needing to click five, ten, fifteen times is a dealbreaker for me.

I view this with alarm. Google, which used to be so clean, chaste, and functional, is going all glitzy. I can't stand their new image search, in which it is difficult to scroll through results because mousing over any thumbnail, even accidentally, cause it to zoom out... into some poorly-defined Java-jived windoid in which right-clicking "Copy image" does not work reliably.

I like it (1)

beej (82035) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637574)

Another vote here for the minority. I like being able to quickly narrow my search on the spot--to this end I found I began ordering my search terms before I typed them in, e.g.:

susanville food breakfast best bacon

I use Chrome's URL field to do Google searches all the time, and find I miss instant when I'm typing up there.

Useful and not, but not obtrusive (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637580)

I sometimes find Google Instant useful, same as with history-based completion in the URL bar of Firefox. But when it's not useful it's easy to ignore and doesn't seem to bog things down any (at least I'm not noticing it). As for the ads, when I'm looking to buy what I'm searching for they're often relevant to my search (and thus useful), and when I'm not they're easy to ignore. A lot of other search/advertising engines seem to get the first bit but ignore the second part about getting out of the way. No, scratch that, they get the second part but consider doing it to be an explicit thing to be avoided. Which I think is why Google's so popular and so profitable.

It doesn't make it faster (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637616)

If they make the first or second time you hit Tab take you to the first result, it might have made things faster, as you could start the page loading without having to transition your hand to your mouse (and back to the keyboard, if the next site has a logon.) As it is now, you have to hit Tab 16 times to highlight the first result, the now-unnecessary search button being one of them. The tab order includes the links to all of their other products before getting to the search results, as it is on their regular search, but at least the old one had the "I'm feeling Lucky" button for obvious searches (e.g. "Wiki" Tab Tab Enter takes you to Wikipedia.)

The same as the awesomebar (4, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637652)

My reaction to it was the same as with the AwesomeBar:

First I loathed it. It makes the input box to jump while the text is being typed. It also makes it very hard to focus on typing while a multitude of information is flashing on the screen at the same time. That effect increases if you are a fast touch typist.

But I was too lazy to disable it, so I didn't. I then started (without even noticing) to adapt the way I use it and it proved itself to be much easier: I start typing whatever I'm searching and pause for just a second to inspect the suggestions google makes. More often than not, I can simply stop typing because the search result is already what I'm looking for.

In the few cases it is not, I finish typing and use it "the old way", pressing enter to retrieve the search results.

Re:The same as the awesomebar (1)

NeverNow (611234) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637702)

Hmm... I like my AwesomeBar to only suggest entries from history and bookmarks, without dynamic search results.

Tasteless and pushy (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637658)

I don't mind that Instant Search might be motivated by Google's self-interest. I don't mind that it may place technological burdens on the browser--you can always turn it off. I don't mind that not everyone will necessarily like it.

What I mind is that it is basically tasteless. It's mostly bling, and Google used to be so tasteful.

And what I mind even more is the "negative option" feature of it. For years, Google has been introducing new features on an opt-in basis, e.g. by showing them first in Google Labs. Gmail was originally invitation only!--and people have been opting in willlingly because the new features were obviously valuable. This is the first time they pushed something on me without my prior consent. That's bad.

And come to think of it, they introduced it with an extremely intrusive animated thingy--the Google "balls"--which were presented without any explanation. That's also a new departure, and a bad precedent.

Honestly... (1)

NeverNow (611234) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637668)

...it strikes me as yet another reason to disable Javascript on Google.

I actually like it - I can search faster, I think (1)

elysiana (1152995) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637704)

I sometimes feel like I am one of the only people who like this feature. I don't know if it has something to do with how quickly I process information or what, but I'm actually enjoying it. Granted, I don't need to use it every time because I generally know exactly what I'm looking for and what terms to use, but I think it's great when I'm researching something and I'm not sure what I need to look for. It's not like I have to look at what I'm typing, so instead I'm able to look at the web pages as they come up and glean information from the summaries. If I see one that looks promising, even if I've kept typing and it moves or goes away, I've already scanned the info I need and can add that in as I type to narrow it down further.

In fact I'm beginning to find it more annoying to search with the feature *off* because it means I have to hit enter to search for something, look at the results, say "Nope, not what I needed," and type in something else and hit enter again.

Of course, I've always been extremely fast at skimming and pulling out key words and phrases, and I've been told I read faster than most. I'm sure that makes a big difference; many of my friends who are not fast readers say they dislike it because they have to actually stop and read the results after each word they enter, whereas I don't have that problem.

NO WAY?!!one!!1! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637830)

A corporation in America did something... for... .... MONEY!??! I don't believe this!

useless and I never see it (1)

jd142 (129673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637880)

Since ctrl+k gets me right to the search box in FF, I never go to the google home page. And even if I log out of my google account it still routes me to igoogle anyway. When they did that funky logo follows the mouse thing a while back, I actually had to go to google.co.uk to see it. That was easier then blasting the cookies anyway.

I did actually try this out though. I'm a fast enough typist that it doesn't matter. And I am *not* that fast. I can see if you are someone who types with an index finger one character every few seconds then maybe it will show you results before you are done typing.

I'm about to turn it off (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637900)

I've gotten used to the laggy feeling and jumpiness but what I can't stand is that after being trained to not have to enter a query it sometimes wipes out the final results and tells me I have to hit enter. WTF?

I use NoScript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33637950)

NoScript prevents the automatic listing of stuff, making Google act like it's supposed to.

There was only one time in the world when I accidentally had Google temporarily whitelisted... I happened to be doing a search for the UNIX 'tee' command. You can imagine what showed up, and you can imagine why I hated it.

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