Google Instant: A Welcome Evolution


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Google Instant launched this week. I’m already a fan. I typically use the Google search bar in my Firefox browser, so for a while I have been happy with the utility of the auto-complete suggestions that were popping up in the drop-down menu below that search bar as I typed. Now, if I am on the Google search page (which I have added as a handy tab), I also see all the results pre-populating and morphing automagically as I type. Since I do a lot of “long tail” searches, Google Instant isn’t always guessing right at first, but for the most common short form searches—the utilitarian ones (look up the spelling of something, find a quick definition, get to a Web page quickly, check a current event), it gets me there quicker.

Change Our Search Behavior. Google Search continues to change our Web behavior much more than most other Web tools. We humans are often slow to adapt to new interfaces and to adopt new tools (like new releases of applications), or new User Interfaces (Apple touchscreen/gesture interface). Yet, there are Web-based tools that change “underneath us” that we tolerate although we may notice and grumble about it.

One characteristic of the human user interface evolution is that the UI/technology often changes the human’s behavior, not the other way around. Take the example of using speech to text or handwriting recognition. Although these technologies are touted to “learn” and adapt, what’s really happening is that you, the user, adapt by changing your behavior to get the “right” results. My husband points out that this is similar to the way that a good executive assistant “trains” his boss to provide him with the correct information in the right order to get things done most efficiently, e.g., “Book me a flight to Paris tomorrow on the 9 pm.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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