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August 21, 2010

Google Live Search: See Search Results as You Type

Google tests a new search interface that updates the results as you type a query. In this experiment, you never have to press Enter or click on the "Search" button to see the results because Google constantly retrieves the results for your query.

While this interface has the advantage that you can refine your search faster, the constant refreshing can be annoying if you don't need help. Rob Ousbey calls this experiment "live updating Google search results", Google uses the word "streaming", while others may call it instant search or incremental search. Google probably wants to morph the search box into a query builder with instant preview.


Check the HD version of the video to better see Google's new UI.

The experiment is not available in Google Labs, but you can try a similar interface at Google Alerts. Type some keywords, click on "preview results" and every time you change the search terms, Google Alerts shows a preview. There's also Keyboardr, a site that uses Google AJAX API to shows results as you type.

Update: Another user noticed the changes. When you visit Google's homepage and start typing your query, Google moves the search box at the top of the page and displays the results. "Open the Google page and start typing. Previously, the screen didn't shift. Now, though, as soon as you start typing, Google shifts the search box to the top of the page, and displays ads to the right and distracting search results below." The new UI can be disabled by clicking on "turn off streaming" next to the search box.

{ via Blogoscoped Forum }

26 comments:

  1. That's awesome. I hope it'll be also implemented in all Google Search-powered Products, immediately.

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  2. Oh an it looks like Google calls it "streaming" since there's a link to the right or the box that says "turn off streaming." However, it seems to have replaced the safesearch link, which makes me wonder if this is real...

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  3. I don't see why it wouldn't be real. Here's another Google user that noticed the changes:

    "Open the Google page and start typing. Previously, the screen didn't shift. Now, though, as soon as you start typing, Google shifts the search box to the top of the page, and displays ads to the right and distracting search results below."

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  4. Just confused why the safesearch link isn't there I guess. I also love how the results are pushed down rather than covered up by the dropdown list.

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  5. I bet they're doing this for easier searching on tablet computers too since there's that "x" on the right of the text box that clears out the text.

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  6. Wow! That's great. Google is becoming more faster and faster.

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  7. Google streaming gives me a headache.

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  8. Very annoying and non original
    Google lost it's appeal

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  9. I don't see any benefit : useless and annoying !

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  10. As much fun as this is, from a web developer's point of view, I can't help but ask why would you purposely implement something like this, knowing that it will increase the amount of bandwidth each user uses? I mean, that's a whole page full of search results, with images, every time you hit a key. (And remember, it's not just you, it's everyone on the planet using the site.)

    It's a really nifty toy (played with the keyboardr site a bit), but I don't see it being nearly as helpful as auto-suggest was. Not to mention it being visually distracting, like others have mentioned.

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  11. it's only "visually distracting" because it's new, but once you get used to it. i've had the pleasure to try it out and i think it's very useful, so i hope they make it permanent.

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  12. once you get used to it, it won't be distracting

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  13. and they got rid of "i'm feeling lucky" :))

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  14. Streaming search results is the next logical step after the now-common "suggest" feature. The idea is to connect your brain more quickly to what you're trying to find-- emphasis on TRYING. This kind of real-time feedback will help both the end-user and Google. Users will not feel so committed to a search that brings up the wrong results as they type, so they are more likely to continue trying variations. More variations makes it easier for Google to analyse the disconnects between what people search for and what they find.

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  15. This seems to be interesting and shows power of google's technology. But I guess this is going too far and is not required and may be irritating sometimes. Lets see how well it goes with users.

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  16. Not only it is annoying, unoriginal, and unnecessary, but it also, if you turn it off (as I do because I don't like the thing) it also automatically turns off the option for results to open in a new window/tab; basically a trade, it seems...

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  17. It's an AWESOME feature that's very useful. As you type, you can see the results, and make adjustments to your query to get better results without having to touch the mouse or move the focus away from the search entry field. I'm sure it doesn't send a query with every keystroke, but submits the query only after brief breaks in typing. If you take a break after typing each letter, then yeah... a search will be submitted after each letter... but if you type a whole gang of letters at once quickly, then it won't search until you've finished them all. There's no limit to how fast a user can submit queries, and there shouldn't be. It's nice that I no longer need to waste time reaching for my mouse and clicking the search field to enter a new query... I just keep on typing if I don't like the results!

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  18. "Interface expert Jef Raskin was a strong advocate of incremental search. In his 2000 book The Humane Interface, he wrote, "From the point of view of interface engineering, the advantages of incremental searching are so numerous and the advantages of delimited searches so few that I can see almost no occasions when a delimited search would be preferred."

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  19. I had this feature Last night. I don't have it on my work computer.

    It works very well, but i'm so used to clicking Enter, that i didn't really use it.

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  20. i am not having this option of live streaming when i am opening google, how can i make this feature active in my browser.

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  21. i don't like it as it's distracting. And no matter how many times I see it, I won't like it.

    Besides, I don't like google changing things up on me leaving me no choice but to deal with it, unless of course its change I agree with.

    This is what I get for having an addiction to free and almost useless stuff.

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  22. There's an option to disable this feature: "turn off streaming".

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  23. I HATE this feature. Turned it off after becoming very irritated.

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  24. And AGAIN Opera is left out. Honestly, what the frak is wrong with Google?
    (And again: everything works as advertised as soon as I switch Opera to "Identify as Firefox")

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  25. I had to comment.
    I hate this. Thank god you can disable it in settings so easily.

    It's a useless feature that makes my searches slower and more annoying; and sometimes it loads the results for a search or suggestion I never wanted. On my school network, it's even worse, given that there is low bandwidth and our computers are very old and slow; sometimes Google will freeze - yes freeze - due to lack of memory in the computers. Selecting to disable "Google Instant" is hard to remember each time you fire IE up as well.

    Now I have to change it each time i turn on Firefox at home, or I have to sign in (since I have strict privacy settings). I've resorted to using the Google search box in the Google toolbar that's been the same for years. It doesn't change while I type, why should anything else?

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