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October 12, 2010

Instant Search, an Optional Feature in Google Chrome

Last month, I mentioned that Google Chrome tested a feature that automatically loads web pages when you type in the address bar. Since then, the feature has been added to Chrome Labs in the Dev Channel and has already graduated from Chrome Labs.

A recent Chromium build added instant search to the Options dialog, but the feature is disabled by default. Here's the official description:

"Instant lets you view web pages and search results faster than ever. With Instant enabled, most web pages begin loading as soon as you type a URL in the Omnibox, before you hit Enter. In addition, if supported by your default search engine, search results appear instanly as you type queries in the Omnibox, and in-line predictions help guide your search. Becasuse new search results are requested each time you press a key, anything you type into the Omnibox may be logged as a search query by your default search engine."




While instant search is useful for frequently visited pages (for example, you only need to type "m" to load Gmail), the feature doesn't work well if you want to type a new web address or a query. If you frequently type Gmail's address, but now you want to go to http://mail.yahoo.com, Chrome will first load Gmail and then Yahoo Mail.

Chrome Labs includes many other experimental features that will be officially released in the coming months: side tabs, tabbed options, remoting support, disabling outdated plug-ins, XSS auditor, background web apps, proxy for Cloud Print and GPU accelerated Canvas 2D. Most of the features can be enabled in Chrome Dev Channel if you type about:labs in the address bar.

15 comments:

  1. Coolest feature in new Chrome

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  2. I've been using this for about a week now, and although I like it a lot, there is a bug that irritates me.

    That is, when searching for something from within chrome (ctrl+k), the browser also fetches the results while you type (like google instant). The only difference with Google instant is that the browser sends a new request to Google for every character you write. Google doesn't like this. If you make to many searches, Google will say that your computer is making automated requests and give you a timeout (preventing you from doing new searches).

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  3. Instant is pretty obnoxious, imho. I think over time more people will begin disabling the feature.
    We'll never know of course about those stats. Google asserts it "guessing" what a user is about to enter saves us time. My feeling is it's distracting to have it generating 'ticker' style guesses of the last so many letters of a search phrase after you've only typed in a few.

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  4. I'm still not sold on Google Instant. What I want from about:labs to come to the Beta Channel soon is Tabbed Settings, I tried that on Canary Build and was nice.

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  5. Don't use this right now, unless you want to get a ban. After a few minutes of browsing, search results are replaced by:

    "We're sorry...

    ... but it appears your computer is sending automated requests."

    No crap. Thanks, googler asshats.

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  6. For users of Firefox 4, there’s an experimental extension to do this.

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  7. I just figured out how to enable instant search on Yahoo! and bing using chrome :P

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  8. I guess this is a nice way to inflate browser usage statistics.

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  9. I wish it worked in Linux...bummer for me.

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  10. I'm using 8.0.552.0 dev on a mac, I don't see this option.

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  11. I'm also using 8.0.552.0 dev.
    Try enabling Instant in about:labs and do some restarts and it should work.

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  12. I have been using it for a few days now and it Google keeps giving warning messages about doing 'automated queries'

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  13. I don't see an instant option in about:labs

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  14. Hi,

    The new feature sounds good.

    Regards |Madav

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  15. And how long will it be till google ends chrome?

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