By Jared Newman | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Instant, which in the browser loads search results and entire web pages as you type them, isn’t enabled by default, probably because it could confuse people who aren’t expecting it. But not me! After nearly a week of living with Google Instant in Chrome here are a few thoughts on how it works.
Distracting at times …
One of my beefs with Google Instant is that it can’t keep up with my word rate, while my brain can’t keep up with the changing results on the page. Seeing good search results disappear as I type can be frustrating, as I’m left trying to walk back each letter to find whatever choices previously came up. Your mileage may vary depending on how fast you type.
… And unnoticeable at others
Reaching a verdict on Chrome Instant took this long because in most cases, browsing the Web is the same as it ever was. Obviously, more searches were instantaneous because they originated in the omnibar, but my tendency to hit Enter after completing an entire thought, which negates Google Instant’s effects, is so far unshaken.
Wait, don’t take my page away!
The essence of Instant in Chrome is the delivery of search results or web pages as you type. But occasionally, I’m typing something into the omnibar based on the information on my current web page. A couple times, I was unnerved to see Google wiping away the information I was trying to copy down as it loaded up a new search.
When it works, it’s great …
I was a little worried about instant loading of entire web pages, and not just searches, but it’s actually a nice extension of how Chrome automatically fills out your most visited URLs. Even when Chrome loads the wrong thing (Techmeme.com always loads before Technologizer.com, for instance), it never got in the way of what I was doing.
… But it I wish it worked better
When pages load instantly, Chrome’s drop-down list of suggested web pages and search queries doesn’t go away until you either click anywhere on the web page or hit enter, and the latter option loads the page from scratch if it hasn’t already appeared. How about hiding the drop-down list when mouse movement is detected?
My overall impression of Instant in Chrome is that the pros and cons cancel each other out to the point of apathy. I don’t think I’d be any worse off without Instant in the browser, but I’m not bothered enough to disable it. I reached the same conclusion about Google Instant in search when it was introduced in September.
To try Instant in Chrome yourself, get the Chrome beta, then go to “Options” and click “Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing.”