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google instant

 
author & internet detective
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Any thoughts on the new "Google Instant". I normally search from Firefox's google plugin, but the twice I've tried google instant look cool.
 
Ranch Hand
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Yeah, nice one. Just a bit of work you have to do here in India to get it working. Not available on India domain, but yes, can access on google.cpm provided you are logged in with google account.
 
Marshal
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Meh.
 
lowercase baba
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i'm with Bear. Granted, I may not have the zippiest connection speed available, but i can usually type my search terms before the first result really populates.
 
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fred rosenberger wrote:i'm with Bear. Granted, I may not have the zippiest connection speed available, but i can usually type my search terms before the first result really populates.



Same here!
 
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Hmmm, I think it's cool. Even if it doesn't make much difference a lot of the time. Yes, often I know exactly what I want to search for, and can type it in before the search finishes. (This is true from home more than work - the faster connection at work means I often can't finish typing before it starts populating results. But a more interesting question is: do the intermediate results help guide you to a more useful search? Sometimes I will see a term there that's better - more specific, for example - than what I've thought up on my own. Or sometimes I'll see a lot of irrelevant crap, and realize I need to add something else to my search to guide it in the direction I really need it to go. Yes, in both cases I could get that same info by simply hitting "return" and waiting for the results. But this is often faster, overall. And it looks cool.

I'm a bit surprised that they're able to do this so easily - apparently. That is, I would have expected this sort of thing to be prohibitively expensive, to devote the CPU cycles to search results we haven't even asked for yet, and may never use at all. But maybe they've found a way to do it fairly cheaply, thanks to economies of scale. If not, they may decide to phase out this feature over time if it doesn't provide good value. But perhaps the value is better than we at first realize.
 
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One thing that's quite interesting is that they don't generally submit the partially entered keywords themselves as the trial search. This might be done selectively, I'm not sure. But for example, if you were looking for information about astronavigation and started searching for "sextant", when you'd entered the first three letters you'd find a page full of results about that cable show with the horrid horsey-faced girl. But if you then pressed "enter", you'd find quite a different page full of results. You'll have similar experiences searching for "title", "cocktail", "Assateague Island", etc. Seems like human intervention is in evidence here.
 
Mike Simmons
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So EFH - what have you really been using Google for, hmmm?
 
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Seems like human intervention is in evidence here.



Yes. They had to hire something like 100,000 people to look at the search results as and when they type it. If its appropriate, these people type in the search term and press enter. The results are then sent back to you. All of this is done in under 0.2 seconds !! Incredible isn't it ?
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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@Deepak: More like just a list of censored words. But it's interesting to think how that list would be implemented, and how the Google search core understands that "Sex and the City" is OK.

@Mike: true story. A young mother of my acquaintance recently tried to visit the web site of big-box realtor "Dick's Sporting Goods". Rather than Googling, she guessed, and typed in "dicks dot com", with her six and seven year old sons sitting next to her at the computer. The predictable hilarity ensued, I am sure. As a result, this sort of thing has been on my mind lately, and what happened here is that I predicted Google would have some kind of safeguard in place, and so I went looking for it. I was right! If you use Google Instant to look for "Dicks Sporting Goods", you're spared the pain of looking at "dicks dot com". Obviously a lot of thought went into that aspect, and it shows how sometimes there's more to something like this than it seems.
 
Deepak Bala
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More like just a list of censored words. But it's interesting to think how that list would be implemented, and how the Google search core understands that "Sex and the City" is OK.



Wow. 2 MD points to you for taking me seriously

Well on a serious note yes, there is probably a black list. I would not be surprised if the logic is a mixed bag of things. Like a black list + A general algo to figure out what the user is trying to search.

Have you seen their 'icland is an icland' (Iceland is an island) spell correction logic ? That kinda tries to determine what you meant to say. May be there is a little bit of that in there
 
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I'm not a fan. I don't like the information overload I get before I'm anywhere near the term I'm searching for. The journalist Charlie Brooker has a good phrase for the effect: "like trying to order from a waiter who keeps finishing your sentences while ramming spoonfuls of what he thinks you want directly into your mouth".

 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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After using it, I'm less than impressed. I think we type too fast for it to be useful. Maybe a hunt and pecker saves time.

This was an editorial in today's amny newspaper:

More advanced auto complete except this time it slows things down as you type

 
Deepak Bala
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:After using it, I'm less than impressed. I think we type too fast for it to be useful. Maybe a hunt and pecker saves time.

This was an editorial in today's amny newspaper:

More advanced auto complete except this time it slows things down as you type



I turned it off after using it for a few days. It distracts you rather than aiding you
 
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I don't really notice it much. I see it out the corner of my eye, but most of my attention is on what I'm typing.
 
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