A super-fast new search interface on Google.com, known as Google Instant, has set the Internet abuzz. While the idea seems cool, many are worried about the ramifications of throwing so much information at users.
When a user types a search query, the new interface starts predicting the query even as it is being typed, and accordingly starts showing search results instantly.
This new interface was developed based on the fact that people type much slower than they read. It has been found that it takes 10 times longer to type than it does to read, so even as a person is typing a query, he can easily look at the page and see the search results as they appear, thus saving the user’s time as he conducts his search.
Based on the search results and suggestions displayed as the query is being typed, users can modify their search queries to get even better results.
Not only are organic search results updated on the fly, but ads that appear alongside the search results also get updated accordingly. As the user continues to type a new letter into the query, the organic results and related ads get instantly modified accordingly.
As a result, users will see unrelated and related ads as they are typing in a query.
Problems for advertisers
Google has clarified that an impression will now be counted when a user stops typing for more than 3 seconds or when the user performs an action such as pressing the Enter key or Search button or clicking on one of the results.
Even so, the number of impressions recorded for Google AdWords ads will change drastically as a result of this new search interface. A user could simply pause while typing a search query or look away from their PC for a bit, and that incompletely entered query would count for ad impressions on campaigns from advertisers who might not even be relevant to the final query the user intends to search for.
Moreover, as impression counts increase and click through rates drop, Google will need to adjust the AdWords algorithms to ensure that Quality Scores don’t drop and drive up costs per click for ads that got inadvertently displayed due to such incomplete query entry.
Google Instant is being made available in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia, to users who have a Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac, or Internet Explorer v8 browser. Users on other domains can also access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google account.