First of all: At the beginning I was pretty impressed by Google Instant, it was so fast, it was almost like magic how all this search results appeared. Taking into account how many extra queries this means for Google´s servers it is a really impressive feature.
“Feelings of euphoria and weightlessness are normal. Do not be alarmed!”
That was the alert message that appeared with the google instant launch.
But the Euphoria didn´t last too long for me and all this magic of not pressing “Enter” on my keyboard turned out to be useless for me (Although, it made me think “WOW!” first…).
Don´t get me wrong: There are many Google tools that I really like. For example I prefer Google Chrome to Firefox …it is just that Google Instant didn´t made it in my personal favorite Google features list.
Well, before starting the big discussion about Google Instant: Let´s watch the Official Google Instant Promotion Video to get an idea about what and for whom this feature was designed for!
- “Search is a hard problem and still far from being solved” – Oh yes in that point I agree with the Google Instant product manager!
- “Seing results instantly lets you refine your search as you type” – Does that phrase really make sense? Google Instant does NOT refine your search, it´s broadening your search! Why? Let´s say I am looking for the query “Guides for SEO”: After i typed the word “Guides” it will load instantly some results for the query “Guides” (First result was about city guides….) => “Guides” is a broader search than “Guides for SEO” => why should the broader search be interesting for me, before I have checked the deeper, more specified query?
Here go my reasons why Google Instant is not really useful for me:
- Instant did NOT make search faster for me! According Google: “Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.” Ha! See what I got as an instant result for this “reasons why google instant sucks” example. The first Instantly appearing result was something about “reasons why I love you”:
Did it help me that there “magically” appeared results that I was not looking for? => Nopes! Since they are usually irrelevant to what I was really looking for (people complaining about Google Instant) all this results for “I love you” and “lyrics” couldn´t really improve nor accelerate my search experience.
- I usually search with the Google Toolbar in Firefox or with Google Chrome. This is the fastest way to search! why should I first open the Google homepage and then perform a search? The time that I spend writing Google.com & waiting for the page to load is time that I could spend for other things. Google Instant doesn´t work with browser toolbars so that is why I am usually searching without Google Instant.
- I am a long-tail searcher. I guess that about 80% of all searches that I do consist of 5 or more search keywords. I usually have a very clear idea about what I am searching for and to get the more relevant results I have to use more keywords in my search phrase. Google Instant doesn´t help me with this, because it tries to interrupt me and wants me to check the results for fewer keywords phrases. This is against my preferred searching behavior, so I don´t really need it.
- I became Google Instant blind! Damn, how many useless “instant” queries did I produce in the last weeks? I don´t remember, but it was a lot! Basically, I never clicked on them, because it just was not what I was looking for and in the end I was subconciously no longer looking at all at them! I was even no longer realizing that there appears all this instant results stuff… I ended up ignoring it the same way like advertisement banners.
=> That is the ultimate sign that it is not useful for me! If the user´s brain decides to no longer pay attention to some happenings on the page then it is not useful, FULLSTOP! It is fancy, but that´s about it! Switching Google Instant off means more relaxation for my brain and more efficient search experience for me and that is all I want (and probably other users as well!) and no fancy stuff that is useless in the end.
- Instant is wasting server & bandwidth resources! Google even mentioned in their promotion video that their engineering team first thought that it is insane to do instant search. It is producing billions of additional queries, most of them a very likely not fulfilling the user´s needs. So why waste resources for something that is just fancy, but not really helpful? Sometimes when my internet connection had its bad moments the Google Instant annoyed me while I wanted to type a longer search query.
Reasons why I sometimes still use Google Instant:
- It has a very high fun factor! Google Intstant combined with the Google suggestion can really produce some funny search experience 😀 You doubt that? Ha! Then check what happened during my search for “Reasons why Google Instant sucks” query:
- For the case that you don´t really know what you search for or when you are just bored then Google Instant is quite cool. It is a bit like pushing the stumbleupon button! Yeah, check it out: Just type one or two random letters in the google search box and see what results “magically” appear! It can be fun
What´s your take on “Google Instant”? You don´t think it´s useful or do you think that I am just too Oldschool to really see the value of Google Instant? Here is your chance to be heard!