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November 4, 2010
2 Min Read
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.
About the Author(s)
Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility
Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.
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