Get it in an instant!

Maybe you’ve heard some of the buzz lately… Google has introduced a new feature – GOOGLE INSTANT.  In case you haven’t seen it already, here’s the deal…

Here’s a normal Google search page:

Google Home Page Screen Shot

Nothing special here, right?  Well, that is until I start to type – then something really interesting happens.  As soon as I type ONE LETTER, the page changes and I start to get search results.  Google guesses what I am about to type in, and returns an ever changing search result with each and every letter typed.

For example, for me, I type in the word “fort”.  Here’s what happened automatically:

Google Search Results for FORT

Based upon my four keystrokes, Google guessed that I wanted information about Fort Wayne.  I didn’t hit enter or return.  The search results just appeared instantly (hence the clever name, huh?).

So, besides being cool and fun, what does this mean for you and I?

  1. Search continues to get personal – increasingly more and more often there is no single Google result for a particular search.  If I lived in Fort Worth, Texas, do you think Google would still suggest Fort Wayne, IN when I type the word Fort?  Do you think it would show results for Fort Wayne?  Of course not.  It would show results for Fort Worth, Texas.  Search results increasingly vary.  They change based on your location, your history, your likes, your dislikes – all of which Google often knows about you.
  2. Search Engine Optimization is changing –  Typically Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting a particular site to appear high on Google for a particular search term.  But, if everybody gets a different result on Google how can I possibly optimize?  Increasingly this is the problem presented in SEO.  While there are still many terms that don’t aren’t very dynamic (meaning they return the same results regardless), I believe that this will continue to change.  Simply put there is no longer a Google first page result.  When asked – “Does your site appear on page 1 of Google for term X”, the answer will be – “It depends” – it depends on where you live, what your history is, what you like and don’t like…
  3. The Number of Search Terms will Decrease – While I’m not totally sure about this, I think that Google Instant will help push us all to the middle.  When Google gives us results, I think we’ll start to suffice – thinking that the results we see are “GOOD ENOUGH”.  We’ll click on something that comes up and hope for the best.  Rather than crafting a very specific search term, we’ll start typing, see some general results and click – hoping for the best.  Again, while I’m not sure about the result here, this could very easily mean that niche companies get pushed more and more to the sidelines while the bigger players simply grow bigger.

    For example, if I type in the letters “ORG” I instantly get the results for organic gardening.  But perhaps I was hoping to find “ORGANIC TOMATO FERTILIZER” – but, when Organic Gardening comes up, I think that  it is close enough and I click.  While I might find something of use, the problem is that the niche players can easily get squeezed out.

One last thing.  Looking for some keyboard shortcuts for using Google Instant – Gina Tripani at Fast Company has a great Google Instant guide –

What do you think?  Is Google Instant a big deal or just a shiny trinket?  Leave a comment and let me know.