Google launches mobile Instant search

Google’s launched its Instant search feature for the iPhone 4 and Android 2.2 smartphones, and is promising support for more OSs in the months to come.

The predictive search feature was launched in September, and is claimed to save up to five seconds per search. As a user types in a search query, results are displayed immediately, rather than waiting for the user to finish the query and hit ‘enter’.

But some users have found the feature an irritating distraction, and the small screens of mobiles are likely to make it more confusing. With a keyboard taking up much of the screen, the suggested search terms leave little room for search results.

“With Google Instant on mobile, we’re pushing the limits of mobile browsers and wireless networks,” says software engineer Steve Kanefsky.

“You will probably notice a big improvement in speed when you search thanks to a new AJAX and HTML5 implementation for mobile that dynamically updates the page with new results and eliminates the need to load a new page for each query.”

The company concedes that the feature works rather better on 3G and Wifi networks, but says customers with slower connections can easily turn it on and off without leaving the page.

It says support for other OSs, countries and languages other than English will be added soon.