Google Instant is dead, and that's sad, but would you have missed it if we hadn't reported it?

A staple of Google’s desktop search since 2010, Google Instant has been canned because apparently, everyone’s searching on mobile devices now.

Google Instant is no more. A staple of Google’s desktop search since 2010, the service has been canned because apparently, everyone’s searching on mobile devices now.

Google Instant was introduced by ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer when she was still working at Google as vice-president of search and user experience. Google Instant provided users with instant search results as a query was being typed, hence the name.



Following its demise, search results will now show up only after you hit ‘Search’ or the enter key or click on one of Google’s search suggestions.

In a statement released to SearchEngineLand, Google said, “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.”

Mayer described Google Instant as a “fundamental shift in search”. In fact, the feature was such a big deal for Google in 2010 that it rated a special unveiling at an event in San Francisco. At its unveiling, Mayer is reported to have said, “There is a psychic element because we can predict what you are about to search for in real time.

At the time, Google’s research suggested that it took a user an average of nine seconds to enter a search query. Pointing out that the time between each keystroke was 300 ms and that it took users only 30 ms to glance at another part of the screen, Google decided that continually refreshing search results as a user typed was a more efficient form of search.

Today, however, a lot has changed. Google states that over 50 percent of search queries are now generated on mobile devices. To maintain Google Instant, the company will have to maintain two different search engines, one for desktop users and the other for mobile (Google Instant never made it to mobile devices). According to Google, it’s simply not worth the effort to maintain two engines.

Of course, Google Search Suggestions — which throws up search queries as you type — remain, so it’s not like the demise of Google Instant is a big loss. And anyway, it’s not often that we explicitly head to to search for something. More often than not, we’re using our browser’s address bar, where Instant doesn't work.

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