The Best Way to Explain Google Instant

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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.

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

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