Google will no longer automatically populate search results as you type because it just doesn’t work on mobile devices, and mobile devices are where most Google searches happen these days. Indeed, Instant Search is dead at last.
Remember when Google first introduced what it calls Instant Search all the way back in 2010? The search giant claimed that it would save users millions of seconds per hour by giving them instant search results as they typed away. Some loved it, but others – including myself – hated it. Developed and rolled out under the guidance of Marissa Mayer, who was the company’s vice president of search and user experience then, Instant Search may have saved me a few seconds, but the lag it brought along ended up costing me even more time.
Instant Search was even worse on mobile devices: it was counterintuitive and inconvenient for the page to continuously update itself based on what was being typed on such a small screen – especially a few years ago when smartphone hardware was way inferior to regular computing devices. I remember I had to switch it off because the onscreen keyboard would freeze or lag too frequently.
Google says that the feature was removed to provide a better experience for mobile users and to make Google consistent across platforms.
Nowadays, of course, most Google searches actually happen on mobile devices, and that’s why the search giant has finally decided to get rid of its Instant Search feature. Speaking to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson said that the feature was removed to provide a better experience for mobile users and to make Google consistent across platforms:
We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.
So there you have it – you no longer have to go into settings to turn off Instant Search. From now on, you can just type away, and Google will give you a few suggestions without automatically populating the search results.
Are you sad to see it go? Do you think Instant Search was useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!