Google Instant Gets Small–Maybe Too Small

By  |  Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Google’s new Google Instant user interface, which debuted in the search engine’s PC-based service a couple of months ago, is now up and running in the version of Google you get on iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android devices. (Android 2.2 devices, that is–that Android fragmentation which supposedly doesn’t exist prevents users of earlier versions from getting the new interface–and to be fair, it also requires iOS 4.) It’s in beta, and you turn it on via a link below the search field on

The mobile version of Google Instant is largely identical to the desktop one: As you type, Google shows you continuously-updated suggestions (which are helpful but not new–you get them even with Instant turned off) and displays a list of results without you having to press Search. But the fact it’s all happening on a phone screen changes the experience. For one thing, the on-screen keyboard on my iPhone covers most of the results, rendering the whole experience less instant. (This wouldn’t be an issue with an Android phone with a physical keyboard, such as Verizon’s Droid 2.)

In this screen, there are additional Google Instant results beyond the Wikipedia entry on LBJ–you just can’t see them without tapping the “Done” button. (You don’t want to tap “Search”–it does a search for whatever you’ve typed so far.)

(I tried Google on my iPad, where the on-screen keyboard takes up less real estate, but right now, at least, I’m getting a version of without either the desktop or mobile flavors of Instant.)

Me, I’m going to continue to search Google using my mobile browsers’ built-in search-fields; going to at all is an extra step which largely negates any speed benefit from Google Instant.

How about that desktop version of Google Instant? After using it for two months, I find myself in the odd position of struggling to form an opinion of it. I don’t feel like it’s helping me search any faster, and I don’t feel like it’s getting in my way. It’s just there, and I tend to ignore it. Have you done a better job than I have at caring about it one way or another?


Read more: 

2 Comments For This Post

  1. MacBook Air 2010 Says:

    After using Google Instant since its debut, I have come to the conclusion that I am really not a fan. Yes, I'm aware that you can turn it off, but I delete cookies every time I close the browser, and logging into a search engine to use it sort of kills the whole "fast' factor, as does running a search, turning off Instant, and running it again. I suppose I might end up using Dogpile.

  2. website design Says:

    I wasn't a fan of google instant when it first came out, and honestly I don't use it now.
    I find myself possibly tabbing to the 3rd or 4th entry once a month.
    I type 90+wpm, I typically just finish what I want to type as it is quicker..