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Will Google Instant Change Anything?

The release of Google Instant yesterday has caused a lot of fuss in the online community, but will it really have any impact on searches? For those of you who don’t piously follow search engine news , Google Instant is a new feature that brings up search results as you type them into the search bar. Some people see this as a revolution for search technologies, while others find the flood of information overwhelming.

As you type your search into Google, results will automatically appear and change on the page. For example, when you type an “a”, Amazon comes up; but if you continue with a “p”, the results change and bring Apple to the top. In addition to providing instantaneous results, this revised version of Google also offers users predictions that are more accurate. If you don’t know what to type in, Google will bring up several oft searched for options after each keystroke, helping you pare down your search. Results are now catered to your geographic location and search history, further increasing the relevancy of the sites Google presents.

According to Google, the most time consuming aspect of any search query is the time it takes you to type it in. By predicting what you’re typing and giving real-time results, Google Instant can save anywhere from 2-5 seconds per search.

Reducing search times by a few seconds probably isn’t significant for most people, so the real question is whether or not Google Instant actually improves the process of finding information online. According to an online poll on Mashable.com,  roughly 60% of users say they like the new features, while nearly 20% remain undecided. The continuous stream of results can be confounding, and many people are complaining that it convolutes Google’s historically clean interface.

Some have speculated that Google Instant will have significant consequences for SEO and the viability of small online businesses. Since large corporations are uncontrollably brought up during virtually any search, the notion is that Google Instant will simply keep these goliaths at the top of all search queries. The fact that results are brought up instantaneously also discourages more refined search terms, which are the bread and butter for small company’s SEO strategies.

“The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time,” said Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team.

Google admits that the new system will likely cause some fluctuation in search volumes for particular keywords, so you should check your analytics regularly to see what, if any, changes there are moving forward. The bottom line is that Google Instant won’t affect search results in any significant way, but it will change the way people use the search engine.

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