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August 2, 2017

Google kills Instant Search

Seven years after its launch, Google kills Instant Search, the feature that shows search results while you're still typing. For some it may come as a surprise, but if you think about it, there's not much added value for instant search (anymore).

As online traffic is moving more and more to mobile devices, systems have to deal with smaller screens compared to desktop (and even laptop). Instant search is a typical artefact of desktop search: large screens, so plenty of room to show that results are changing while you're typing. But what happens when you move it to mobile? In most cases, the search results are not even visible while typing: half your screen is the search box (plus site header etc), and the other half is your keyboard. So, where do the instant search results go? They're changing, but nobody can see that. And that defeats the whole purpose of the feature.

At Google, they've also figured this out by now. And since mobile search volumes have already overtaken desktop search, and continue to grow rapidly, it only makes sense that instant search got killed.

At 904Labs we're happy to not have a feature on board, for a change:-) It has always been our believe that there's little added value to instant search, especially on mobile. This is why we've focused our efforts on (1) getting the best possible search results after hitting enter, and (2) building the best possible search box, that really helps users in constructing their queries. Do want to know more about these two, get in touch with us.