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Google Technology

Google Instant Announced 408

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-faster-than-before-then-right dept.
GCPSoft writes with this quote from a Google announcement: "Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type."
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Google Instant Announced

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  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:05PM (#33510882) Homepage

    Getting rid of that annoying fade-in effect.

    • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:13PM (#33511022)
      Just tried it out and holy jeebus is it fast. My only qualm however is that, when I know what I'm looking for, it's a little distracting watching all of the results flash by as I type. Almost seizure inducing. It's very cool, but it would be nice if I could control the refresh rate with finer granularity.
      On another note, a quick refresh rate can pull up some non-professional images if one isn't careful. For instance in typing latent dirichlet, 'la' pulled up a partially clothed/nude image of lady gaga.This might have been a bit awkward if safe-search wasn't on.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by orangesquid (79734)

        Is it just me, or was google instant available before the /. story about the google light-up-letters story even posted? :confused look:
        Yes, it is surprisingly fast, and it is great for relieving boredom. For example, I started typing llll, lllll, llllll, lllllll, etc., to see how long a string of l's I could make before it said "Press enter to search" and stopped giving me results. It seems like I needed a string of about 30 L's. It looks like the cut-off is about 5,000 hits.

        • Is it just me, or was google instant available before the /. story about the google light-up-letters story even posted?

          Google rolls features out early to random people for testing.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by orangesquid (79734)

            Ah, but I wasn't signed in =)
            Does google roll out to some IP blocks early, as well? Or randomly to some "users" as marked by cookie signatures?

        • I got up to 100 Ls before it stopped (exactly 100, so I imagine 100 is the character limit). Some of them had ~3,000 results.

      • On another note, a quick refresh rate can pull up some non-professional images if one isn't careful. For instance in typing latent dirichlet, 'la' pulled up a partially clothed/nude image of lady gaga.This might have been a bit awkward if safe-search wasn't on.

        Searching for vagrants or penal colonies is definitely not recommended at work.

      • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @03:18PM (#33512068) Homepage Journal

        in the panel on the left.

        Select "more search tools" and then select "Fewer shopping sites"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tverbeek (457094)

        (Note: I'm not getting Google Instant yet, just ye olde fashioned guess-ahead autocompletion.)

        When this was first rumored, I warned that "child por(traits)" might be unsafe to search for with this system, since it might guess along the way that you were looking for something... you shouldn't. Apparently they anticipated this, because the several autocompletion possibilities they offer for "child po" disappear altogether when you change that to "child por" (including "child portraits", even though it still

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Eivind (15695)
          Indeed, and google suggest does the same thing, i.e. when autosuggesting, it refrains from suggestions that would return overwhelmingly adult content.
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#33511136)

      if you don't move your mouse and just have focus there in the window, it never fades in. or something like that. there's a trick.

      you shouldn't *need* any tricks; but this is the modern google. they 'went commercial' and so its not the same as the old google.

    • by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:24PM (#33511232) Homepage
      Man is Slashdot the largest collection of conservative whiny techies in the world or is it just me? Perhaps if that fade-in is so resource intensive you may want to change from your C=64 with coupled modem to something a bit more recent? I know I know, all that extra memory and CPU speed just encourages "sloppy programming" but trust me it's worth it.
      • by Garble Snarky (715674) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:32PM (#33511396)
        Nobody cares about the resource usage. It is annoying to have to wait an extra second, or however long, before you can do what you're trying to do. Yes, one second is an incredibly negligible amount of time, but the fade provides literally zero benefit, for some people. Negligible amount of nuisance + zero benefit = net negative utility = bad idea.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:47PM (#33511610)

        Personally excessive fade effects annoy me because I spend a lot of time using tools like vnc, remote desktop, citrix ica clients, etc. Fades are generally slow, clumsy, and downright obnoxious when viewed remotely.

      • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:56PM (#33511758) Homepage

        If I wanted my search engine to be stuffed full of shit, I would have used yahoo from the 90s, then migrated to bing.
        Ever since google started messing up their front page by, you know, adding stuff, I started using the firefox search box. This had the side effect of diversifying the search tools I use, and about:blank really is the best homepage.

        Now call me a conservative whiny techie, but never having to see obnoxious random "experiments", and logo doodles ever again is a huge step forward.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cl1mh4224rd (265427)

          Ever since google started messing up their front page by, you know, adding stuff, I started using the firefox search box. This had the side effect of diversifying the search tools I use, and about:blank really is the best homepage.

          Now call me a conservative whiny techie, but never having to see obnoxious random "experiments", and logo doodles ever again is a huge step forward.

          Yikes. You know that the default Firefox homepage isn't www.google.com, right? It doesn't have those "obnoxious random 'experiments', and logo doodles".

          So, yeah..."conservative whiny techie" might be the better label of multiple labels that pop into one's head after reading that comment of yours.

      • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @03:38PM (#33512378) Homepage
        <pedant>The C64 didn't use an acoustically-coupled modem; it used a 300baud handset replacement that plugged into a port on the computer and connected directly to the base of a desk or wall phone.</pedant>
    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:48PM (#33511626)

      30 seconds in, I found it MUCH better to just get rid of the whole thing:

      http://www.google.com/preferences [google.com]

      Seriously... who made the decision to go with this? I suspect it's the same person that decided to ajaxify google images. Both are horrible, unusable things that just get in the way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ksevio (865461)

      Are you one of the people that signs the online petitions every time facebook changes too?

      If you're going to the google homepage, most likely you want to just do a quick search, in which case, the fade in eliminates everything else in the page and makes it easy for your brain to instantly narrow in on the search bar.

      Now I know you probably also visit google.com to view their privacy policy, but you can just bookmark that if it's so important.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:07PM (#33510922)
    Let's just pray Slashdot never instates a "post as you type" feature.
    • by jonnythan (79727) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:11PM (#33510984) Homepage

      If they did, at least all the "Candlejack will get y...... [no carrier]" or "I torrent all the time and the CIA has never knocked down my doo... [end of line]" posts would make *some* semse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suso (153703) *

      Let's just pray Slashdot never instates a "post as you type" feature.

      Have you ever used talk (old command line program)? Could you imagine if the comments section was some kind of massive talk system. I wouldn't be surprised if someone is reading this thread right now who will go off and try to make it happen. I guess Wave was kinda like that.

      • by mpeskett (1221084)

        Have you ever used talk (old command line program)? Could you imagine if the comments section was some kind of massive talk system.

        Given that my answer to the first of those is no, I'm going to have trouble with the second one unless you elaborate a little.

        Or I suppose I could go Google it, but what am I? An animal? Googling my own information... to hell with that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by samkass (174571)

      Let's just pray Slashdot never instates a "post as you type" feature.

      Wasn't that Google Wave? And haven't they added that feature to Google Docs?

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Dear Aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all.

  • Wasteful requests. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:09PM (#33510958) Homepage Journal

    Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes

    I think what they meant to say there is that there was a group at Google that had nothing better to do than make this happen.

    All that instant searching thing can be helpful at times, but it can also be wasteful of bandwidth, CPU resources, etc. The only place were I've found it essential is on youtube search on my bluray player where I don't have a keyboard to type letters, it can savea A LOT of time. Of course, I normally type 80 words a minute.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nazsco (695026)

      yeah, it took 2.5sec to unfreeze the page while it was loading on my crappy firefox.

      anyone here still uses the google front page to search?

      i mean, browser has a keyboard accesible, always-there, box for search.

      • by Patoski (121455)

        yeah, it took 2.5sec to unfreeze the page while it was loading on my crappy firefox.

        The secure version [google.com] still uses the more traditional approach if the new feature makes your machine cough and wheeze.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138)

      The question is what do you have more of: Bandwidth and CPU, or time?

      A lot of the time I don't know quite what search phrase I should use to get something that I'm looking for. The ability to start typing, maybe get what I'm looking for in the second word, maybe the forth, or maybe go back and edit the search, is nice. When running a single search for something known, it's slightly faster but mostly fluffy. But when you're really looking for something, it can be quite helpful.

  • Yeah it's crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:10PM (#33510970) Journal

    This "constant updating of results as you type" makes my Hotel dialup connection run even MORE slowly than it did before.

    Even on high-speed DSL, it slows things down. Why can't these web developers get into their heads that not everyone has a 1 megabit pipe? (Or if it is available, don't want to spend ~$60/month to get it.) I remember one of the things taught developed in the 90s and early 2000s was to "optimize" their pages to use as few kilobytes as possible - like squeezing GIFs down from 50 to 10KB. Apparently that paradigm got thrown out the window.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tekrat (242117)

      Oh yeah, amen brother. You know how many web pages now have images that are linked 1MB BMP files that could have been optimized down to 30k JPGs? Oh my god, and how many people now design sites assuming you've got a 1240 by 1024 monitor?

      I still surf using a Pentium 3 and a CRT that doesn't support any more than 1024x768. Slowly but surely, I am being locked out of the web. I think it's high time to fire up the NeXT station, load up Omniweb and see what little still works.

      What annoys me most is that the same

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I'm typing this on a 1.8GHz Sempron and I feel your pain. I mean WTF web designers? Huge 1Mb+ images, pages splattered with a tiny bit of text and taking 20 pages to put two paragraphs worth of text, having to use Adblock Plus just to keep from being driven batshit by all the damned seizure inducing bandwidth sucking ads, its like the whole web is being designed by colorblind teens on crack!

        As for TFA, man that is irritating. Having to work on boxes all day if I had to deal with that constant flipping I'd

      • by Itninja (937614)
        That type of thing is exactly what the Firefox+NoScript combo is for. There is nothing (at least nothing I find useful) on Google that really requires scripts of any kind; especially this 'Instant' thing.
    • by TyFoN (12980)

      They have an "off switch" if you don't want to use it ;)

    • Re:Yeah it's crap. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BlueKitties (1541613) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:25PM (#33511248)
      First, it uses a small fraction of the bandwidth of a low quality video. It's only sending small amounts of text. Second, it automatically shuts off on low bandwidth accounts. Third, if it seriously slows down your computer, you probably have malware (probably the result of being asinine, your complaints seem to agree with this possibility.) Fourth, bloatware only applies to useless features. Try using it more than (oh... how long has this been out... two hours?) before blathering. Fifth, YOUR FACE. Sixth, YOUR MOM.
    • So ... turn it off? If there was no way to turn it off, you'd have a pretty good point... but Google seems to do ok with the allow-people-to-turn-it-off stuff...

      For people who DO have a a relatively good connection, it's nice.

    • Re:Yeah it's crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gruturo (141223) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:48PM (#33511624)

      I was (and still am, to a degree) quite a rabid anti-bloat advocate. I cringe when I see 250k JPEGs used when a 25k PNG would have done better (esp. on non-photos, like comics, graphs, designs, maps) or when some idiot saves something at JPEG quality 100 when 95 would be indistinguishable to a human and yield a 60% space saving (btw, curse you Photoshop, and curse you Adobe, for Flash and your horrible PDF software (but not the PDF format!) while I'm at it).
      I loved the Bandwidth Conservation Society website.
      In 2003 I used to run some generated HTML through some old code beautifier which as a side effect auto-CSSized it yielding a decent space saving over raw, before serving it to browsers. And I'd still be doing it if I had to run a website, even if I was sure noone would notice the difference.

      But I'd really have a hard time calling this new Google Instant thing a waste. It's a new gizmo which needs more bandwidth to perform a useful function. I'm not its target (I type *way* faster than their target audience, usually looking at neither the keyboard nor the screen until I press enter, and most my queries are through Firefox's search box since I just type Ctrl-K, searchtext, Enter, BAM, way too convenient (and works in Chrome as well) but I readily recognize it as useful to millions (maybe not those who just stare at their keyboard while they slowly hunt and peck, not even realizing their query / address was autocompleted 20 seconds ago, making me twitch at the sight of this daily absurdity. Never mind bookmarking the damn thing, or those newfangled RSS aggregators. Or the heresy of a keyboard binding :-) ).

      Disclaimer: I'm totally a Google whore. Hey I even tried using Wave to do stuff. Once.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DIplomatic (1759914)

      This "constant updating of results as you type" makes my Hotel dialup connection run even MORE slowly than it did before.

      Even on high-speed DSL, it slows things down. Why can't these web developers get into their heads that not everyone has a 1 megabit pipe? (Or if it is available, don't want to spend ~$60/month to get it.) I remember one of the things taught developed in the 90s and early 2000s was to "optimize" their pages to use as few kilobytes as possible - like squeezing GIFs down from 50 to 10KB. Apparently that paradigm got thrown out the window.

      The paradigm of catering to the slowest and oldest has been replaced by pioneering new ground while at the same time including easy ways to turn off the extra features. If you would calm down for five seconds maybe you would see the link "Instant Search is On" with a dropdown menu to turn it off.

  • Google has locked out thousands of businesses that have never upgraded browsers. Of course, that's the new trend. Weather.com doesn't work with IE6 either. Pretty soon Slashdot will not support ^^&#$%&... NO CARRIER

    • Re:No IE6 support (Score:4, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:21PM (#33511162)

      Google has locked out thousands of businesses that have never upgraded browsers.

      I tend to see it has thousands of businesses denying themselves access to services because they aren't willing to upgrade. It's not Google's fault that businesses refuse to upgrade. They're going to be left behind, end of story. I stopped testing on IE6 a long time ago. People need to move on and upgrade if they expect to use all of the features of the internet, that's just a simple fact. You can't expect all of the newest technologies like CSS3 and canvas to work in IE6, it's just not going to happen, ever.

    • You say that like it's a bad thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gruturo (141223)

      Dropping IE6 is a good thing. It's hideous and not just aesthetically, but also from a security and standard support/compliance standpoint. I'm not advocating alienating all Internet Explorer users altogether (even though I quite dislike it), but dropping IE6 specifically is a *good* thing to do. Yeah some companies still force it on their users, shame on them (the companies).

    • by schon (31600)

      Google has locked out thousands of businesses that have never upgraded browsers.

      Bullshit.

      I Just tried a search on Google, and it worked just fine. The "instant search" feature wasn't available, but it was in no way "locked out."

      If IE6 was "locked out" of Google Search, then it wouldn't return any results at all. Not porting a new feature to an obsolete program is not "locked out".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ksevio (865461)
      It doesn't have official Opera support either, though if you identify as firefox then it'll turn on and work fine.
  • It's live now, and (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ultraexactzz (546422) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:10PM (#33510978) Journal
    ...it scared the hell out of our secretary about 10 minutes ago. "How does it know?!?" she said. I guess it found her city with just "city" in the box - pretty impressive, I thought.
  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:11PM (#33510988) Homepage

    Just go to the Google homepage, wait five years for the fade in, click "Settings" -> "Search Settings"

    Find the setting for "Google Instant" (hint, bottom of preferences list), select "Do not use Google Instant" and press Save.

    Now if there was some easy way to disable the horrible, over-scripted image result page layout I'd be a happy camper!

  • by lainproliant (1412961) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:12PM (#33511000)
    This is definitely useful for those who type slow, but its sort of startling for those of us who type faster. Thankfully it can be disabled: http://www.google.com/preferences?hl=en [google.com]
    • by AndrewNeo (979708)

      If you type fast, and make that a plus point, why are you wasting time going all the way to the main Google page to do a search?

  • Censored (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:13PM (#33511016)
    The instant search thing seems to be censored. I type Por and wait and it doesn't suggest porn at all. I type Porn and wait for some suggestions and it doesn't do anything at all. Whats the point when the thing is filtered?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lazorz (1544583)

      Nice catch - just tested it.
      Keep typing a normal query string - it will keep updating the page as you go, but then add "porn" at the end and all the results suddenly vanish! Even with safe-search Off! :P

      Also, max string length = 100 chars, over 100 chars you need to press "Search", same as with "porn"

      • They may just be keeping the results manageable for whatever buffering they're doing.

        I mean, really, who looks for 'porn' on the internet? No one uses that generic of a term. That would be like using 12345 as the combination for your luggage.

    • by tekrat (242117)

      That's probably because they didn't want to be sued by some irate parent when little johnny was searching for hints for the game portal but as he typed "por" he was suggested porn.

    • by game kid (805301)
      Welcome to Google server 17. It's safer here.
      • by AndrewNeo (979708)

        Don't drink the kool-aid. They put something in it, to make you forget. I don't even remember what I was searching for.

    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      The suggestions must be ranked by popularity. After all, nobody looks for porn on the internet, right?

    • Because I'm at work.
      turn off safe search in your prefs and see what happens.

      On an aside:
      We have a paranoid-strict content filter at work...
      I turned off safe search and I think I just lit up IS's indicator panel like a Christmas tree :-)

      That was fun. Tons of little "this item was blocked" pictures as images tried to come up...

    • Eric Schmidt insisted that safe search filtering be put in place. Seems he was giving a demo and it suggested "mountain view glory holes". Must have been a bug, eh Schmidt?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zero_out (1705074)
      Does anyone remember the old autocomplete, before it got removed for a while? It was because there was a huge amount of negative publicity when someone would type "blacks are" and the first autocomplete suggestions were lazy, stupid, criminals, and a few other negative things. I think they learned that censorship is good for them when it comes to predictive algorithms. Imagine a kid at home, doing a report on porcupines, and when they type in P O R, getting flooded with porn links. That would not be goo
    • Re:Censored (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:15PM (#33512892)
      Why did I get modded funny?
  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#33511138) Homepage
    Instant always has that - erm - processed taste.

    Okay, what's different with this than having search results show up in the google bar on Firefox, IE or in my Android google widget?
  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#33511152) Homepage
    First, what's the point to search on "L" "Li" "Lin" "Linu" "Linux" "Linux " "Linux U" "Linux US" "Linux USB"? Second, the whole page is moving and now I can't concentrate on a good search string. What do people with slow internet connections do? What do people with connections paid by traffic do, now they have to pay 10-100 times the traffic for no purpose or advantage.

    Now I have to deactivate JS on google, thank you very much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BlueKitties (1541613)
      You didn't even read the announcement. It doesn't do a search for "L" "Li" ...etc, it predicts what you're going to type and gives you results for that. For example, try typing "weather" and you'll see weather results before you're done typing. Follow up with "weather for "... and a nearby city, you'll see results for that city. Also, it's sending small amounts of text. Video eats up hundreds of times more bandwidth.
  • Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type."

    By giving me partial results while I'm typing, you distract me, slow down my typing even more, and delay the good results I'll get from a complete query.

  • Ad revenue driver? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robot256 (1635039) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:31PM (#33511370)
    Is this supposed to drive up ad revenue? Do they get the same kickback for a 300ms view as a 3.0s view?
    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:40PM (#33511500)

      Talking about ad revenue, where do those suggestions come from? I typed "s" and the first three suggestions I got: skype, staples, sears. "e" - ebay, espn, expedia. "m" - myspace, mapquest, msn. Randomly tried typing two letters: "be" - best buy, bed bath and beyond, bevmo. etc.

      Wouldn't some common word or a name of a pop star or whatever be the most likely thing people will search for rather than almost exclusively company names? Weird.

    • by catbutt (469582)
      They charge per click, so obviously, no.
  • So... 110 hours of using Google Instant should get me 500 years into the future. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll know if the Cubs win a World Series.
  • I don't see how they are going to provide a consistant UI on Chrome -- or any browser with a search bar, but especially one with a search bar integrated with the address field. I like the feature, but don't like how it never does it on my first search, since that is via the search field on Chrome. I'm sure they'll update Chrome to deal with this somehow, but I can't think of a nice way of doing it.
  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#33511576)

    ... who gets most of the way through a search for goatseller

  • For those of you complaining about this - or other - features that seem to slow down your machine: you can always use the search bar in whatever major browsing you're using.

    If you use Google as your homepage there are options to disable at least this feature [slashdot.org]. However, I'm one of those crazies that just opens up the previous sessions windows, always mindful to close out potentially shocking or embarrassing tabs.

    YMMV.

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