The Best Way to Explain Google Instant

Random things earn my wholehearted respect. Romantic comedies that end bittersweetly. Excellent pop guitarists who can actually sing. Soft chocolate chip cookies with the right chip-to-dough ratio.

Here's another: excellent explanatory journalism. For example, the Washington Post's graphics department is the Michelangelo of drawing simple pictures of complicated policies. Today, this Gizmodo primer on Google Instant, the new search feature on Google that returns results as you type each letter of your search, struck me as particularly excellent:

It's predictive search...

Should you activate Google Instant Search, you'll start seeing search results as soon as you start typing. You'll also be shown a range of possible queries in grey to refine your options, all before you ever hit the "Search" button.

...that saves you time...

Google estimates that Google Instant will save people an average of 2-5 seconds per search. The reason? We read faster than we type, and predictive search pretty much takes typing out of the equation. If every Google user around the world switched to Instant, we'd save 3.5 billion seconds a day, or 11 hours per second.

What Is Google Instant?

...(unless you're looking for porn)...

Want to read on? Check out Gizmodo.

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In