Aussies wait for Google Instant

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Aussies wait for Google Instant

New interface claims to save 11 hours every second.

Google last night unveiled its Instant search interface that suggested and displayed search results while users typed.

The tool leveraged more powerful infrastructure in Google's data centres and could save two to five seconds per search - 11 hours every second if it was used globally, Google claimed.

Instant was launched last night in San Francisco. A spokesman said it would be deployed on Google.com "in the coming days", and on Australia and New Zealand sites "in the coming weeks".

In the meantime, users could access Instant on Google's US website by clicking "Go to Google.com" on the bottom right of Google's Australian page.

Shortly after the launch, search engine marketing firm Greenlight Search warned that some websites may suffer a drop in traffic if their SEO campaigns relied on long, multi-word keywords.

Greenlight's head of search Adam Bunn suggested that by constantly refreshing free and paid results, Google could generate more advertisement views, thus raising costs for some advertisers.

A Google spokesman said the company could not predict exactly how Instant would affect traffic to individual sites.

"We're constantly changing search features and these generally impact each site differently," she said. "This change does not impact the ranking of search results."

Because Google Instant could return more accurate results, the spokesman said it may attract more users, and advertisers may benefit from receiving more - and more relevant - clicks.

Advertisements would be served on predicted queries "as if the user typed the entire query", she told iTnews.

"This will not change the way ads are served ... The predicted query is displayed in the search box as if the user typed the entire query."

Silicon Valley blog ValleyWag warned that while some searches had been disabled, predictive search results could be embarrassing.

Blogger Maureen O'Connor raised the examples of Norwegian playwright "Ibsen", which may initially display results for "Irritable Bowel Syndrome", and "anything that starts with Ju", which would display results for teen pop star Justin Bieber.

Google did not anticipate Instant to slow home connections, describing the additional processing load of the feature as "very small" when compared to streaming video and online gaming.

The spokesman said Google took steps to minimise the amount of data transmitted during the search process, such as by changing only certain parts of the page without updating static elements.

Users would also have the option of turning Instant off, and Google planned to automatically disable Instant for users on "very slow connections".

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