Q: What are you announcing today?
A: Today, we announced Google Instant, a new search interface and infrastructure enhancement that is fast and predictive, making search easier by showing you relevant search results instantly as you type. We estimate using Instant saves between 2-5 seconds on a typical search because you don’t have to finish typing or click the search button.
Q: What are the new features? Can you be more specific?
A: With Google Instant, we’re introducing a couple new features that include dynamically displayed results right on the homepage so you can quickly review and find the right result. Predictive text that saves time by guessing your search so you don’t have to finish typing. And finally, the ability to scroll to search by hitting up and down on the arrow keys and instantly see results for each prediction.
Q: Why is Google launching this product?
A: At Google, our focus is to help users find information quickly and easily. Today’s change makes search fast, predictive and easier to use. We estimate that using Instant saves between 2-5 seconds on a typical search.
Q: Where is this feature available?
A: Google Instant is starting to roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the latest browsers (Chrome versions 5 and later, Firefox version 3 and later, Safari version 5 for Mac and Internet Explorer version 8). Please note, users on domains other than Google.com and Google.ru can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account. We will continue to add new domains and languages over the coming weeks and months.
Q: Is Instant available on mobile?
A: Instant is not yet available on mobile, but we plan to release it soon.
Q: Will Instant work across Image Search, Video Search etc, or only on general web search?
A: At this time, Google Instant works only in the general web search ('Everything') mode, not in video search or other modes or tools selected in the left column. We're currently working to make it available in those additional modes as well.
Q: If you show a new results page for each new prediction, how many results pages do you estimate you are serving with this new feature?
A: With Google Instant, we estimate that on average we'll serve between five and seven times as many results pages for a given search. Even before Instant, Google was serving more than a billion queries each day, so this increase presents a tremendous challenge of scale for our systems. We've worked to pursue a number of different solutions to efficiently manage this demand.
Q: Have you measured how much faster this makes search? Is there a metric you can share?
A: We estimate that Google Instant saves the average person between 2-5 seconds when they search.
Q: Are you offering people the ability to turn off this new feature? Why?
A: Yes, people who do not want this new interface can turn it off by clicking the toggle to the right of the search box. This is a fundamental change to the way you interact with search. We love it and we think our users will love it. However, there are some cases where we anticipate users may want to have the option to turn the feature off, so we are giving them more choices.
Q: What team developed this product and where? How big was the team?
A: Google Instant was developed in Mountain View with help from teams in Haifa (Israel), Cambridge, Pittsburgh, Zurich (Switzerland) and New York. The final production involves teams from across the company, including infrastructure, user research and others.
Q: Did you test this new feature before you released it?
A: Yes, we’ve tested this product internally and in user studies of people from outside the company. We also ran external experiments shortly before launch and were happy with the results.