Google Instant has caused a wave of news this week, from people raving about the impact, to those that are worried it will change online marketing forever (for the worse) by further increasing the demand to be the top search result.
One aspect that struck me as very interesting is that this move significantly increases the number of search results Google will have to handle. Is this truely a feature to save people time, or is it also a push to leverage their size to create distance from the competition by doing something that isn’t feasible unless you have the engineering and server resources of Google?
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-instant-behind-scenes.html covers some of the work that went into the effort – handling about 7 times more search queries without having to have 7 times more infrastructure.
Competitors take heed: Google feels the pressure building and isn’t ready to give up any search share anytime soon. Competitors will need to let Google take the lead on this one and see if it will move the needle on search share before trying to follow suit as this will take a large investment and the value to users seems to be questionable.
For me Google Instant Search is irrelevant as 99% of the time I search from the Omnibar in Chrome or the search box in Firefox or IE, and until the feature comes to those search boxes I won’t see it unless I go looking for it.