Tag Archives: Google Instant

Dear Google, thanks for the instant preview, now please support the “nopreview” meta tag

Search engines offer web site owners a wide range of options to specify exactly what content in a website should be indexed and how, that content may be presented in search engine results. This is only fair, as it is the site owner who creates the content in the first place. Beyond the myriad existing options, site owners focusing on Google now have an additional search result presentation issue to consider: should they allow Google to display Google Instant Previews or not. Unfortunately, Google has made the choice to forgo site previews more difficult than it should be for site owners, but before I return to this point, a brief review of current search result presentation options is in order.

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Google Instant expands international reach to 19 domains

Three weeks after its initial debut, Google Instant is now available in 19 of Google’s 182 domains. Interesting tidbit: Google included Italy in its first roll-out group, but Google Instant is not yet available for the tiny city state of San Marino, which also uses Italian.

Not everyone sees Google Instant

Google Instant is only available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8 browsers – users with Internet Explorer 6 and 7 browsers won’t see instant. Users must be logged in to a Google service, such as Google Analytics, Gmail or Google Docs, to use Google Instant. The one exception is for searches performed on Google.com – there everyone gets access to Google Instant. Also keep in mind that users searching via a browser toolbar won’t see Google Instant until they refine their search in a returned results page.

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Google Instant Changes Little – and Some SEO Considerations using the Italian ABCs

So now that most of the uninformed hype surrounding Google Instant has been written, let’s take a hard look at what Google Instant really means for most companies and organizations.

Google Instant is an interface change

First of all, it is important to understand what Google Instant is and what it is not. Google Instant is a user interface change, it changes the way Google presents search results to Google users.

How Google Instant works

As the user types a query, Google refreshes the displayed search results which, according to Google, best respond to the query typed so far or what Google predicts the query will be based on past queries.

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Google Autocomplete, née Google Suggest, the Precursor of Google Instant

With all the brouhaha over the premiere of Google Instant, its easy to over look the fact that Google Instant isn’t really very new. In 2004 Google Labs launched a new tool called Google Suggest. Google suggest provided a list of potential search keyword phrases based on the keystrokes a user typed. Initially Google Suggest also displayed the estimated number of results for a given keyword phrase. Google Suggest was developed by Google engineer Kevin Gibbs in Google’s famous 20% time.

Google Suggest in Action

Google Suggest in Action. Note the result counts.

Google adds search results to the search box

Over time Google added functionality to Google suggest, providing links, weather information and even ads within the Google suggest powered search box. With Google Instant, Google has taken the next logical step of providing suggested results under the search box rather than in it. Google Instant needs to be seen as an evolution of Google suggest. Indeed, many of the limits of Google Instant, such as supplying local geographic targeted results for US metro areas only, are really Google Suggest limits.

Google Suggest Weather in Search Box

Google Suggest with Weather and search buttons in Search Box

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