Google Instant – Why It Mattered and Why It Doesn’t Anymore

My colleague posted this Gizmodo article in our Corporate Yammer Jibber Jabber group today: “RIP Google Instant Search, You Were Never Necessary” (Rhett Jones, 7/26/2017, Gizmodo).
At first read through, I didn’t get it. So I opened Google in my browser and tried searching and everything looked the same. After finding some screenshots in another article called What Is Google Instant? (Brian Barrett, 9/08/2010, Gizmodo) I figured out. Here’s the 10 second summary:

“Google Instant” – Why It Mattered: “We read faster than we type, and predictive search pretty much takes typing out of the equation.”

Why It is Gone: Google Instant search works best on a desktop. Most users are searching for information on their mobile devices.

What Will be Different: The autocomplete “offering a range of possible queries in grey to refine your options” will be gone.

What Will Stay the Same: “The little text suggestions still pop up” in the familiar drop-down menu.


Here’s an example of a Google Instant search from back in the day:

When you would type a letter, Google Instant would guess what you were trying to type, and display the rest of the word in light gray letters in the search field. That prediction in the light grey text is what is going away. To make it super clear, I’m talking about the part highlighted in yellow with the red arrow pointing at it.


Give it a try: Go to Google and try searching for the word “weather” and compare before and after.

IMO: I like this WAY better, and am glad the auto-complete is gone. I’d prefer to not be distracted while I’m typing, especially by artificial intelligence trying to tell me what I’m thinking. The drop-down still offers suggestions and saves you time by letting you use the down arrow + Enter to select a suggestion without having to touch your mouse. I find the drop-down menu visually less intrusive way, and less distracting.

What do you think? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Share your opinions comments down below!


Cite Sources:

  • I shameless grabbed a screenshot from this article and annotated on top of it in Snagit: What Is Google Instant?, Brian Barrett, 9/08/2010, Gizmodo.