Google Instant Search goes live

Google has upgraded its already powerful search engine to support a long-awaited “search-before-you-type” feature.

So, how does it work?

Well, Instant processes what you have already typed during previous searches, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real-time for those predictions. 

“[Remember], you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]),” Google spokesperson Marissa Mayer explained in an official blog post.

“You really want search-before-you-type –  that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.”

She added that Google Instant had required a “host” of new technologies, including caching systems, the ability to adaptively control the rate at which results pages are displayed, and an optimization of page-rendering JavaScript to help web browsers keep up with the rest of the system.

“So, in the end, we produced a [program] that was able to scale while searching as fast as people can type and think — all while maintaining the relevance and simplicity people expect from Google.”

It should be noted that Instant is slated to become the “core search experience” (or default setting) on for a number of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8. 

Google is also set to offer Instant in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK to users who are signed in and have Instant-capable browsers – while other geographies and platforms will be rolled out in the near future.