Google Instant gives users as-you-type search results

Dynamic new feature predicts queries and gives users potential search results

Google today announced a new feature that will allow users to get search results as they type their queries.

Google Instant, which is expected to be rolled out later today, is designed to speed search results. It's about searching as you type, according to Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of Search Products and User Experience, speaking at a launch event via webcast.

"We think it's possible to enter a query and get search results as you type," said Mayer. "It's search before you type. We're predicting what query you're likely to type."

The announcement comes just weeks after the Internet was abuzz with speculation that Google was testing this feature. Search-engine optimization consultant Rob Ousbey was among the first to notice that Google was testing an instant search feature and kicked off the online chatter when he made a blog post about it.

"As you can imagine, searching even before someone types isn't easy, which is why we are so excited today to be unveiling Google Instant," Mayer said. "Instant takes what you have typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real time for those predictions, yielding a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful."

Today's announcement is a major salvo in Google's ongoing battle for search market share with Microsoft's Bing search engine. This rivalry has been spurring innovation, bringing new features, such as real-time search and Google Goggles, in the past year.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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