Google has been a bit playful this week leading up to today’s media event. Yesterday, the logo was comprised of little blue dots, and users could mouse over it to “scatter” the dots all over the page before they regrouped again. It was pretty neat, and also vague in its meaning. Today, the logo changed again. This time, it was grey and metallic. However, when you started typing in a search box, the usual Google colors started popping up across the various letters in the logo.
Then… this morning, CEO Eric Schmidt Tweeted the following:
“I predict big things happening today at Google. We’re already fast… fast is about to get faster.”
And just a few moments ago, we finally learned what Google has been hinting at with these logo changes: they’re rolling out real-time live results that change as the user types their query. It’s called Google Instant. Just what is Google Instant?
“Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.”
Here, perhaps a video will help:
For many, this is not Earth-shattering news, since video footage of this feature being tested leaked nearly two weeks ago. But that doesn’t make it any less huge a change. But at least we now have a name for it.
Oh, it’s already live—for me, at least. And it is, indeed, lightning quick. It’s much faster than I expected, changing on the fly as I type new letters. Love the cute welcome message: “Welcome to Google Instant. Feelings of euphoria and weightlessness are normal. Do not be alarmed.” Cute.
You thought people freaked out when Google redesigned the search results page, adding filters and parameter settings on the left sidebar? Wait until the masses get a load of this. Some will love it, while others will hate it—that’s par for the course on redesigns and new features. Thankfully for those folks, there’s a link to the right of the search button that allows users to toggle Google Instant on and off.
Google is trying to stay ahead of the curve. I would never in a million years have thought to have the results change while the user is typing… simply never would have crossed my mind as something to even try—that’s probably why I’m not an engineer at Google. But seeing it in action leaves little doubt that this can help users find information more rapidly, which is what Google seems to be all about.
How will this impact video SEO? Well, in potentially huge ways—just the same as it impacts any variety of content on the web that hopes to be found. With results being served live… in real time and as the user types… they may not even type complete search phrases anymore—particularly if Google is able to deliver what they want within the first few flashes of Instant results. It may not impact what content creators do on their end, in terms of keyword selection, sitemaps, or links… but it will definitely affect when and how people see and click on your content’s listing.
This is a major change. It should help users find what they want faster—heck, you don’t even need to click the “search” button anymore if you don’t want too. And like Schmidt’s Tweet from this morning suggests… it’s all about the speed with Google Instant (and I can’t stress enough how remarkably fast it is). Remember, Google only broke through in the search industry and rose to prominence because their results were so much faster (and more accurate) than the competition—speed has always been important to Google. It seems they’re bound and determined to do whatever they can to ensure that they’re results are quicker and more accurate, so that we have less reason to look elsewhere.