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11/4/2010
06:27 PM
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Google Instant Goes Mobile

Users can now enable Google Instant on their iPhones and Android 2.2 phones by visiting Google.com using their mobile browser and turning on Instant.

Google Instant, the query prediction technology introduced by Google in September, has made it to mobile devices as promised.

At the September launch event for Google Instant, Google said that the company's search acceleration scheme would be available for mobile devices in a few months.

Here it is in early November and Google Instant has arrived. Google engineer Steve Kanefsky suggests that Google Instant's ability to anticipate users' queries makes it particularly valuable on mobile devices, where character entry takes more effort, page loading is slower, and time is often of the essence.

"Like the desktop version of Google Instant, when you type on your mobile device you’ll see predictions of what you might be searching for," said Kanefsky in a blog post.

Google's predictions come from the company's vast knowledge of what everyone else is searching for. By analyzing the large numbers of queries it receives, Google can guess the letters and the word combinations that a user is most likely to type to complete a given query.

Kanefsky says that Google Instant pushes the limits of what's presently possible with mobile browsers and wireless networks. A new AJAX and HTML implementation, he says, updates search results pages dynamically so as to eliminate the need to load a new page with every new query.

Nonetheless, Google Instant may send more information than a user's network can handle during times of constrained connectivity. For such situations, Kanefsky says Google Instant can be easily disabled using the on/off button on Google.com's mobile page.

Google would probably prefer that users didn't disable Google Instant however. Though Google has said that it expects the revenue implications of Google Instant to be minimal, there's some evidence to suggest that technology has been instantly beneficial to the company's bottom line. Google says the reason it developed Google Instant was to allow users to search more efficiently.

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