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Update: With Instant Pages, Google aims to speed up search process

By Juan Carlos Perez
June 14, 2011 03:13 PM ET

IDG News Service -

In an effort to accelerate the rendering of Web pages in users' computers, Google has developed a search feature that predictively preloads pages before users click on result links.

The feature, called Instant Pages, will be rolled out as a beta test for Chrome browser users in the coming week, said Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, in the company's Inside Search event on Tuesday, which was held in San Francisco and webcast.

Along with the existing Google Instant feature, which lets Google predict search results before users complete a query term, Instant Pages shaves off between four and 10 seconds from the search process, he said.

"The time it saves us is amazing," Singhal said.

Even increasing the speed of the search process by milliseconds results in more frequent search usage and higher user satisfaction across the board, he said.

On average, a Web page takes five seconds to load after a user clicks on its Google search result, but Instant Pages cuts that down often to fractions of a second, officials said.

Instant Pages preloads in Google back-end systems the results Google determines a user is most likely to click on. Webmasters tracking usage of their websites will see the difference between a page that Google preloaded from their site and wasn't clicked on, and pages that are actually visited by users, officials said.

In its initial implementation, Instant Pages will preload the page that ranks first on the search results list. Instant Pages will become available with the next beta release of Chrome, which includes a pre-rendering capability.

Instant Pages will also be offered for mobile devices in the coming weeks.

Google also announced that voice search and search by image, two features available for mobile devices, will now be available for desktop browsers as well.

Voice search, in which users speak their query terms, is being rolled out to Chrome desktop browser users, who will see a microphone icon in Google's search box.

The ability to search using an image, instead of a text query, was first introduced to mobile devices in 2009 and called Google Goggles. For desktop browsers, it's being called Search by Image and will be identified by a camera icon next to Google's search box. When the icon is clicked, users will be able to enter a photo URL into the search box, or upload an image into it. The Search by Image feature is designed to work for images of well-known locales, and not for identifying individuals' houses or faces, officials said.

In addition, Google Instant is also being extended to Image Search.

Google also announced improvements to its mobile search interface for general Web search and local and maps search.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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