Launched in 2010, Google Instant was the Big G’s method of showing users search results whilst they were typing a query. At the time of its launch it was described by Google’s then Vice President as a “fundamental shift in search” and was big news across the web, with claims that it would save around 3.5 billion seconds a day. Now, several years later, Google has made the decision to remove the feature in order to bring their desktop search more in line with mobile devices.
A Google spokesperson has been quoted saying:
“We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many 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.”
According to research, over 50 percent of users are conducting their searches on mobile devices as opposed to desktop, so Google Instant’s usefulness has seemingly dropped. This move falls in line with Google’s ongoing drive to shift focus to mobile devices, with the introduction of AMP and the reported boost to websites that are optimised for mobile responsiveness.
Search suggestions continue to be available, with suggested terms appearing whilst the user types. However, no search results will appear until the user hits enter. Google Instant was never an available feature on mobiles, either through the app or browsers.
Even those who weren’t aware that Google Instant was a “thing” will certainly notice its absence when searching on desktop from now on.
Farewell, Google Instant!