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Google Kills Off Instant Search As Users Prefer Mobile Queries, But What Does The Feature Do Again?

27 July 2017, 12:00 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Google has announced that it will retire perhaps one of the best things about its search engine: Instant Search. The move, it says, will help make search more fluid on all devices.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

So, out of nowhere, Google has decided to kill its Instant Search feature, a significant component of its search platform where search results come up as users type in a query.

Introduced back in 2010, Instant Search made Google even more impressive. The feature heralded speed and recognition, as if Google wants its users to understand that "we know what you're searching for, and we're going to show it to you even before you type it."

Instant Search represented a huge shift in the way users experienced searching on Google. Back then, the company said it would, in total, save millions of seconds per hour by delivering results as fast as possible and reducing the time it takes to write a whole search query.

Google Decides To Kill Instant Search Because You're Not Even Using It

Google will kill Instant Search in favor of mobile devices, or more specifically, to make the searching experience more in line with mobile platforms, according to Search Engine Land. Since it unveiled Instant Search, internet users have generally shown signs that they prefer using mobile devices more often than desktops. More than 50 percent of Google queries now happen on mobile devices.

"[M]any 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 told Search Engine Land.

While Instant Search will disappear, suggestions won't. Type in a query and you'll still see a dropdown menu full of suggestions based on the initial letters or phrases of your query. Now, search results will only appear by clicking on one of these suggestions or pressing enter. Again, this, according to Google, will make search "more fluid on all devices."

Why Killing Google Instant Search Makes Sense

Google released Instant Search under the helm of Marissa Mayer, then Google's VP of search and user experience and now the former Yahoo CEO. On desktop platforms, it makes sense to fill all that white space with search results as one types, but a phone presents a different challenge altogether.

Because of its limited space, and because all smartphones today cramp the space with an onscreen keyboard, showing Instant Search results becomes an inefficient use of space. Trying to render search results when a keyboard blocks the view doesn't make for an excellent user experience or interface. So while the demise of Instant Search will definitely irk most, it still makes sense when thinking of design and how people interact with mobile devices.

What's more, when you think about it, Instant Search doesn't really have a place suppose Google Assistant eventually becomes the default way of searching for things. Think of it as Google considering the future of its search platform. Perhaps pretty soon people wouldn't need to type at all.

What do you think? Should Google kill Instant Search? Sound off in the comments section below!

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