Google announced today major changes to the user interface of the popular Google search engine. For over a month, beta testers have been testing a new instant results search feature that displays search results instantly on the page as they are typed into the search box. Rather than displaying a list of terms, the entire page itself changes to reveal all results that match your term the moment a new key is pressed.
Individual reviews of this new feature have been mixed. Some found value in the new feature, others found it annoying, some didn’t care either way.
It will be interesting to watch, over time, the progression this feature will have on search as we know it. Will users continue to formulate search phrases in their minds, typing them into the search box to find what they’re after before looking at the results? Or will they simply enter a single word for a term, then let the search itself guide them to the complete phrase? Whatever the outcome, this change will have some impact on online marketing and SEO, especially page impressions. Expect the number of impressions to skyrocket for high ranking pages of basic terms, but click through rates to plummet as searches plow right past those initial pages for more specific searches.
The technology behind this feature is an absolute beast. The volume of data processed through the previous method of search was astounding! Now Google has transformed each key press into a ‘search’ button click. The ability of their systems to process this type of intense data processing demonstrates two things: One, Google likes to show off, and two, they can because they are miles ahead of the competition.