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Google Give Searchers 'Instant Previews' of Result Pages 252

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-time-to-waste dept.
First pressing 'Enter' was to much work... now actually clicking on the links and visiting the sites is to much, too... Google is testing instant previews, where you can see a miniature rendered view of the landing page without requiring you to click through and back-arrow.
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Google Give Searchers 'Instant Previews' of Result Pages

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  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:13PM (#34177320) Journal
    YAY! Preview-porn is best-porn!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

      YAY! Preview-porn is best-porn!

      And just think of all those links to goatse-guy (and similar) that we're going to suffer through.
      Never mind, we'll probably all go to jail if even one kiddie-porn link shows up in search results for regular porn...

  • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:14PM (#34177340) Homepage Journal

    And that's to turn off Javascript, which returns it to the original, clean, doesn't-suck-donkey-dick home page with a box to type in the search term and a couple of buttons to click.

    • by mark72005 (1233572) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#34177454)
      Personally I hate the "no enter button" thing, because it retrieves results based on typos and altogether before I am finished forming the query I want to make. It runs contrary to the flow of 15+ years of search engine usage for me.

      It's also annoying as hell to revise the query only to have that dropdown appear, obscuring part of the page.

      Personally, especially at work, I don't want Google pulling up any random page from search results on my behalf.

      Stop trying to think for us, and be what Google originally was - simple, lightweight, doing only what I need and nothing more.
      • by Ksevio (865461) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:29PM (#34177560) Homepage

        Well it's very easy to turn it off, just click the settings link at the top of the page.

        The drop down also does not obscure any of the page, it pushes it down.

        If you don't want to use new helpful Google features, you have the option to opt out of them, but Google does a significant amount of testing on their pages for usability so I'm sure most people will find these features helpful.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by mark72005 (1233572)
          "Obscuring" meaning shoving results down, and wasting screen space on things I don't want to see yet.
        • by surgen (1145449)

          The drop down also does not obscure any of the page, it pushes it down.

          I guess I need to go file a bug report, because it always overlaps the first search result for me.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BenoitRen (998927)

          Whenever a new annoying feature pops up that people complain about, there are always a couple of comments that go "oh, but you can easily turn it off". That's great if you are only going to use one computer regularly.

          For everyone else who does need to use several computers in a week, it's very annoying to almost always have to tweak the default settings to something that doesn't bug you. School computers, work computers, library computers, etc. all carry default settings that don't necessarily migrate with

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rwa2 (4391) *

        Hmm, I do all my googling from the search bar / URL awesomebar. Hell, even if my browser doesn't happen to support awesomebar, opendns returns a page with a google query to whatever text I typed.

        I don't recall the last time I actually did a search from google.com.

        • If you really never need to refine your search terms on Google's results page, I envy your ability to craft perfect searches.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by supersloshy (1273442)

          Just thought I'd give you some helpful awesomebar search advice:

          If you right-click a search box for a website in Firefox, you'll see "Add a keyword for this search". You can select that, save it as a bookmark with a unique keyword (I just shove mine in a Keyword Searches folder in Unsorted Bookmarks), and it'll let you use that search box from the awesomebar! For example, if you save Google image search as "img", you can type "img kittens" and get a search for kittens on Google images. Or if you save Wikipe

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nadaka (224565)

        right. Its bad enough when the first link from google on (a bit of obscure JS/CSS/browser compatability issues) links to a BMEzine forum and you don't realize it until you notice the user icons and signatures. Was a helpful thread though, contained a lot of useful info, and some squicky stuff requiring brain bleach.

      • Personally I hate the "no enter button" thing, ...

        Although I hated for years I now search from the address bar as it avoids this nonsense.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        It runs contrary to the flow of 15+ years of search engine usage for me.

        That's like wanting to get rid of the double click; people are used to it, even though it is retarded in a world of two button mice.

        It's like saying "Mice run contrary to the flow of 15+ years of keyboard usage for me."

        • by mark72005 (1233572) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:28PM (#34178588)
          Search engines are supposed to be a transaction. "Here's what I want." "Here are your results"

          It's annoying I think to most people in a way that is hard to describe. It's like speaking to a person who always tries to finish your sentences before you're done speaking.
        • by khallow (566160)

          That's like wanting to get rid of the double click; people are used to it, even though it is retarded in a world of two button mice.

          If you were right, you'd have a point. But double clicking makes sense even in a world of two button mice because it increases the functionality of the mouse.

      • by nilbog (732352)

        Computers run contrary to 15+ years of slide rule usage for me, which is why I still use my slide rule for reading slashdot and posting snarky comments.

      • by Xtravar (725372)

        Use HTTPS Google at work. Firefox has a HTTPS everywhere extension. HTH

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      Yep, that does cure most of what ails it. But 1) most people don't know how to do this, and 2) it's a damned nuisance even tho I can do it with one tick of a checkbox.

      And then you've got to turn it back on to get any useful behaviour from Google Maps, tho they've become so cumbersome of late that I'd welcome suggestions of where I'd find something like it used to be, with the map, sat, and terrain views, but not every damned gadget in the world making it so damned slow that it's easier to go find my paper m

      • by Colonel Sponsz (768423) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:21PM (#34178478)

        Yep, that does cure most of what ails it. But 1) most people don't know how to do this, and 2) it's a damned nuisance even tho I can do it with one tick of a checkbox.

        And then you've got to turn it back on to get any useful behaviour from Google Maps, tho they've become so cumbersome of late

        Ah, but you don't!
        If you're using Noscript, whitelist maps.google.com (by default, Noscript whitelists the entire domain - but you can whitelist subdomains manually) and gstatic.com. There's no need to whitelist all of google.com.

        • by Reziac (43301) *

          Good tip. I hadn't installed noscript because my solution to other nuisance sites has been to use a primitive old browser that don't know no JS (this works better than using Moz without JS) but the day may have come...

      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        The quietest I can make Google maps is to display only street maps --no annoying Streetview triggering by mistake if you zoom too close. However, there's no relief map or sat imaging there. Just go to maps.google.com/mobile. I found out that google defaults you to that link if your JS is off or the browser (Konqueror or Midori) is tricky.

        • by Reziac (43301) *

          Thanks -- saved for reference. -- Oh, I see this is the same as what you now get if you turn off JS entirely.

          However, it only works in a modern browser; in an old one, the map image is just over an inch across and cannot be resized. Used to be in an old browser without JS, you got a prior incarnation of this mobile thing.

    • Somebody on slashdot converted me from a google homepage user, to a firefox search bar user about a year ago now, and I've never looked back.
      The homepage really does suck-donkey-dick, and will only suck more going forward as stuff is added. But unfortunately the javascript will now need to be blocked on the results page too.

      Does anyone find this instant-o-matic-crap actually slows them down, as the page jerks around to the firing of javascript setTimeouts?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GIL_Dude (850471)
        No, honestly I prefer the instant search to the old search. I often get the result I want when I am only part way through typing the query I thought I had to type. For example, I may have been planning to type something like 'soccer drills for U19 site:.edu' in (yes, I coached this year). Often times with instant, the result that I want may already be there when I get to say soccer drills. It depends on the topic, but often it does indeed save me time. I've yet to see it cost me time.
    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      I've been conditioning myself this past year because it's when they have made the most visible search changes. Remember that "Google everything" thing? That's when I started sucking my gut and using bing and yahoo for my first searches.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net]
      Just block google.
  • Would Google be doing all of this if not for concerns about Bing and such? Competition is normally good, but despite what they claim in my experience Google Instant really seems to slow down my searches. I'm not convinced this will be a real improvement either. Of course everyone seems to think Chrome is great too but it just seems painfully slow to me, so maybe i've just been having bad luck with Google products lately.
    • by Dalzhim (1588707)

      You're right. Google says there is no slow down based on their response speed, but in reality, the slow down is noticeable on old machines that execute javascript slowly even with the latest chrome versions.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:34PM (#34177646)

      Click "Instant Is On", click "Off". Tadaa! You're right back to the 'good old days'.

      Personally, i thought Instant was jarring and annoying at first, but I decided to give it a couples days to get used to it. Turns out I think it's actually pretty nice, if nothing else it lets you change your queries on the fly, adding more keywords if necessary to narrow down your search by just continuing to type.

      • by masterwit (1800118) * on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:59PM (#34178104) Journal

        I do not know about you, but this "instant off" option requires cookies and I do not browse with cookies enabled by default - that is just asking for trouble!

        Furthermore, even though I wish the internet was really fast everywhere, it isn't. Features like this "instant on" feature slow down my typing: I have come to the point and typing speed that I know what my search term is and I don't wait one term at a time to see if I want to "narrow my searching field" by selecting another term. I can type at 60 words per minute+...I do not want their help

        Oh and it gets really annoying when I type something, hit enter, then have it do a completely different search for me because my mouse pointer was floating near by...

        I really want something like the following:
        http://www.google.com/classic [google.com]

        No frills, no extra bandwidth consumed, no searching for the wrong damn thing when I didn't ask for it, and no Google recommend...these new features are just as useful (to me) as the operating systems and likewise gui on Verizon Wireless cellphones - which is completely hideous. /endrant

        PS: yes I will still use Google, I just wish for a simpler time

      • I find it temporarily-freezes my computer while the search is updating.
        Sometimes simple HTML is better.

  • -1 Please No! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rysc (136391) * <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:15PM (#34177350) Homepage Journal

    The instant search results are a pain for me. They violate my back button expectations and they interfere with my web searching workflow: I may alter my query in preperation for the next iteration while still scanning the page for links to open in new tabs.

    It also uses excessive bandwidth by searching for me--and causing the page scrollbar to jump around jarringly--when I am not done typing.

    One thing I always liked about Google right from the first is that they're *lightweight* and fast. Clutter free and minimal to the greatest extent possible. I understand with things like the never-ending-image-search and instant results from queries they're trying to compete with the glitz of bing and other so-called competitors, but this seriously hurts the experience for users like me. Please, Google! You don't have to compete on glitz when you have a hands-down superior product!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The setting to turn off instant search appears next to the search box, alongside the safe search setting. I'd guess the setting for this new thing will be just as easy to turn off.
    • I agree.

      I have found the instant preview to be more of a pain than anything else. I didn't mind the drop down for commonly searched topics - that was good, but I don't want it to be showing results for something until I've actually finished entering something.

    • by catbutt (469582)

      Please, Google! You don't have to compete on glitz when you have a hands-down superior product!

      Maybe you could apply for a job as VP of Marketing for Google, since you understand better than they need to do to compete....?

      Or, just turn the feature off.

  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:16PM (#34177358)

    First Google Instant and now this. What's the value in seeing a small thumbail of the page? The text is too small to read anyway and this will only add to the distraction. You can't evaluate a page based on the layout or how it looks. You're usually looking for content when you search.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sznupi (719324)

      Improving the snippets of website text, shown in normal results, would be much more useful than this visual, well, gimmick.

      Easy too - simply by allowing more text to be shown (technically easy at least, because I guess we would get more "Google is stealing from us!" a'la Murdoch)

      PS. Option of bigger (say, two to three line, configurable) snippets would be useful in Slashdot D2, too.

      • I went back to the classic index.

        I got frustrated with how the new D2 dynamic index only displayed *some* of the message instead of all of them. And it was a pain to keep clicking to open those non-displayed messages. I prefer the old method of loading everything in one solid burst of data, and then I can just lean back and read.

    • by LordKronos (470910) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:34PM (#34177662) Homepage

      What's the value in seeing a small thumbail of the page? The text is too small to read anyway and this will only add to the distraction. You can't evaluate a page based on the layout or how it looks. You're usually looking for content when you search.

      Actually, there is a lot of value in this, at least for me. A lot of times I find that I'm trying to go back and re-find some page the I found in the search results a while back. In my head, I know exactly what the page looks like, but currently I have to click on each link one at a time, wait 1 to 10 seconds for each page to load, go back, and repeat. This would be much quicker.

      Aside from that, I'm sorry to tell you, but one often CAN evaluate a page based on how it looks.

  • visual people (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:16PM (#34177362) Homepage Journal

    I like this feature for a couple reasons. I'm a visual person, I like seeing if the site is the one I remember before I go visit, or if it's a spam-link-farm kind of page that's just wasting my time. I also like their "highlight" that shows WHERE in a page I'll find the sought phrase they snipped.

    I also like the Google Flip feature at the bottom of their news page, but I don't like the two-click process to visit the site. Clicking on the preview gives a (useless) bigger preview, and then clicking on that takes you to the showcased page. Without the second preview, it would be a nice little stumbleupon-like way of finding interesting stories/news/ideas around the web.

  • "We know where every word on the web lives,” he said.

    So if I use Bing, you might go and rough-up some of my favorite words in retaliation? Please, Google, this web is big enough for the both of us!
  • Enough already!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:19PM (#34177412) Homepage Journal

    Dammit, all I want is simple search. I don't want previews, or weighted results, or guessing what I really meant, or a map and pictures and previews of everything that happens to come up in the list of results. Just give me the damned plain search and the naked results. Stop wasting my time with YOUR idea of what YOU think I wanted.

    Oh wait, that should be "What your ADVERTISERS think I wanted". My mistake.

    Google got popular because it was SIMPLE and FAST. It's a damned shame there's no competition left that believes in simple search, so now even Google feels free to tell us how WE want to search.

    What the search world needs is a reset, back to what Google was like when it was new and still eager to collect more eyeballs, instead of the 800 pound gorilla that dictates how every web page is optimized and which ones we get to see when we go looking for something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattdm (1931)

      Google got popular because it was SIMPLE and FAST.

      You're missing something. It was simple and fast, and gave results head and shoulders above those returned by the competition. Now, it's true that the competition had given up on getting better results and was instead working on trying to make money off of you while it tried to convince you you didn't want to leave the site anyway (so never mind those search results anyway -- please stay at our "portal"). But Google did more than just minimalism. Suddenly, the Internet was useful, because you could find wha

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        Actually, no. At the time Google's results were not particularly better, and were decidedly worse than some of the established search tools (I remember running some comparisons back when Google was the new kid on the block).

        It took a couple years to peel me off the ones I'd been using, because it took that long for Google's results to catch up. And that was about the time the others went for the irritating "portal" interface, which was FAR too damned slow for those of us who were still stuck on dialup.

        But G

    • by catbutt (469582) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:23PM (#34178506)

      Stop wasting my time with YOUR idea of what YOU think I wanted.

      ...

      Google got popular because ....

      Ummm....actually Google got popular by making things that were their idea of what people wanted.

    • by i_ate_god (899684)

      I guess changing some settings is too much work for you

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        I've gone so far as to have my own local version of Google's main page, which at least cuts the initial annoyances.

        But that doesn't require that I fuck with it every damned time I use it (or navigate away from it), or rely on their cookie sticking, etc, etc. I get real tired of ticking JS on and off, and changing their fucked-up font as well (their stylesheet is messed up in SM), just to do a quick search.

    • by nilbog (732352)

      A search engine that does not dictate which results you get to see when you do a search would be a very interesting search engine indeed.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Google's like Linux or Burger King: have it your way!

      All those whiz-bang features can be turned off if you consider them annoyances.

      Bing is like Windows or McDonalds: Any way you want, as long as it's OUR way.

    • by megrims (839585)

      It's a damned shame there's no competition left that believes in simple search

      DuckDuckGo [duckduckgo.com]?

  • The good thing is, I can see this helping with sandboxing browsers, especially the ones in internet cafes or public labs when you are searching for something and you get bombarded with ads (usually the talking ones when the person before you turned the volume to max) or irrelevant content. However, Google is becoming less and less lightweight. If I wanted things like this I would use "iGoogle" or whatever their portal page is now.
  • Just stop it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RapmasterT (787426) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:25PM (#34177482)
    I don't want to see a single new Google technology until they put the Google image search back to the way it used to be before they shitified it. It's so damned annoying to use now that I'm actually using Bing when I want to search images.
  • by mrnick (108356) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:26PM (#34177502) Homepage

    I don't like the feature, on Google, that moves an indicator when I press my arrow keys and lets me (forces me to) select the link with the enter key. I use my arrow keys for scrolling, not for navigation within the embedded HTML. I have a strong feeling I'm not going to like this either.

    Remember when Google won us all over with their simplistic no frills search results? Why do people feel the need to fix what is not broken??

    Nick Powers

  • Ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:27PM (#34177530)
    So, do the ads load up in that miniaturized pages, too? And if so, does that count as a view for that ad? Maybe this is just a way to up their ad revenue.
  • You know the firefox add on that has been around for probably 5+ years. But hopefully they can take care of the giraffa patent.

  • by melonman (608440) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:28PM (#34177550) Journal

    I'm holding out for Quantum Google, which displays instantly every single web page that does and could ever exist. That way I'll never need to search for anything ever again!

    • I posted the idea on Slashdot years ago about writing a program that setup up a 256×128 view port in 1bit mode (b&w) and then going through every combination of black and white pixels.

      The idea being that you would be able to watch everything that has ever and will ever happen.

      Somebody did the calculation though and said at 30fps it would take longer than the Universe has yet existed to go through all the frames.

      I still think it is an interesting idea, at least as a thought experiment, as i
  • Don't like it? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DdJ (10790) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @03:37PM (#34177702) Homepage Journal

    Me neither. And I don't like "Google Instant' either.

    Know what I do about it?

    I turn it off! Just turn it off and forget it was ever implemented.

    If someone out there likes this stuff, fine. They can have it. That doesn't mean that the people who don't like it are forced to deal with it.

  • For anyone looking to compare this to the numerous chrome/firefox plugins that generate thumbnail previews:

    This won't generate a request to every website in the search results list. This is very important when surfing from work (and also a good thing for security; those thumbnails have been the cause of a lot of drive-by malware infections).

  • by crf00 (1048098) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:00PM (#34178122) Homepage

    There is now a link on Google's homepage for you to try out the instant preview feature. Or you can go from here: http://www.google.com/landing/instantpreviews/ [google.com]

    Btw one other nice thing is that you can now use instant preview to easily see how exactly Google's crawler "sees" a web page. (Though yes Google Cache can show it too but is in HTML with broken CSS and images)

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:03PM (#34178180) Journal

    Unlike Google Instant, which shuts off on slow web connections, Instant Previews is available to those on thin connections and could be more beneficial to those users than to those using fat pipes, since the question of which page to click and allow to load is far more crucial on dial-up than on a fiber connection

    I am skeptical. I guess loading an image is faster than loading the actual page, but if the page is mostly text then the preview would be slower.

    I also wonder how well this preview works with Web Accelerator or Opera Turbo. Oftentimes they squash images to the point where they are unintelligible - I wonder if the same would happen with google preview.

  • Reduces bounce rate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RighteousRaven (998592) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:05PM (#34178220)

    What's with all the hate? Lots of sites have a bounce rate between 30 and 50% [citation needed]. If seeing a half-loaded page is enough for 50 to 70% of people to
    decide to leave, isn't it reasonable that a preview would be enough too?

    I'd have to use it to decide if the interface is more annoying than useful (obviously)... but there's at least potential there. Heck, depending on whether google caches or optimizes the preview, this could reduce wasted bandwidth as well.

  • by sco08y (615665) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:14PM (#34178372)

    "First, pressing Enter was too much work..."

    No. Pressing Enter was pointless, and clicking through to the page was pointless. Obviously, if I'm taking the trouble to go to a search engine and type in words, I want to search for them. It's idiotic to have to tell the machine that. Likewise, I don't care about the links, I want the page itself, so it makes sense to pull it up right away.

    The whole point of having a machine is to automate repetitive tasks, and that's what Google is doing here.

    • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @05:35PM (#34179442) Journal

      But in this case you need a machine and an internet connection, and not inconsiderable muscle built into both.

      The point of the enter button was that you could construct your query, send it once, and let the big iron at google do all the work for you, instead of plowing all the intermediate results into your battery- and bandwidth-challenged device.

      So while Google is meeting your goal of automating repetitive tasks, it's also making work for itself, mostly just to impress you, but costing you more than you think in the process.

      Google must be a consultant.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thegarbz (1787294)

        But in this case you need a machine and an internet connection, and not inconsiderable muscle built into both.

        But at some point you too must realise that it is no longer 1995. It's like all the arguments that Google became popular because it was simple and it was fast. Well yes I also cherished simplicity and speed when my 56k modem was kicking in the turbos just to load my results. These days a large part of the world is absorbing bandwidth via youtube videos over ADSL2 if they're lucky, and you know what? Google still seems just as fast to me now, except even easier to use and faster to parse results.

        If you'r

  • Google took over as the primary search engine because it was lightweight and fast. Now Google is adding bling that will turn it into Yahoo -- a search "portal"... And sooner or later, Google will become slow and bloated in the never-ending competition with Microsoft.

    Which of course, means a new company will spring up, with a lightweight and fast search engine. It will be called something funny-sounding at first, and then, when more and more of us start using it, we'll just "_____" for that. Eventually MS an

  • Okay plenty of nerd rage going on here, but how do consumer types feel about the new google page?

    I'm not saying it's any good but if the general population likes it more it's here to stay.

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