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Google’s Streaming Search: Is It Useful?

02 Sep 2010, Posted by admin in Google, 4 Comments

Google’s Streaming Search: Is It Useful?


I recently had the chance to play with Google’s streaming search, which was first discovered by Rob Ousbey. In case you’ve not seen it, check out his blog post to find a video of it in action. It involves Google’s search results updating live, through Ajax, as you type, and flips through different results as your query changes without you having to hit the “search” button.

I was lucky enough to be in a bucket test, and was greeted with this homepage when on Google.com. Notice the huge logo, massive search box and, for the first time ever, a complete lack of an I’m Feeling Lucky button.

Google Streaming Search Homepage

I suppose it makes sense to not have the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button when you can always see what the first result is as soon as you start typing, but it’s still pretty strange not having it there.

Google Streaming in Action

The screenshot above shows me starting a search, and it shows Google already displaying results, even though I’ve not hit “Search” and I’ve not necessarily finished typing. It keeps updating as I type:

Google updating the search results live

When I first saw Rob’s video about how it worked, I thought it was pretty cool, but didn’t really think it would be all that useful – and that maybe it was just a bit gimmicky. Having spent some time using it, though, I can see just how incredibly useful it is.

Using it for long tail queries surprised me because it was genuinely, remarkably useful.

From finding out the best way to deal with mysql/php queries and finding the right excel formulas, it was just astonishingly, brilliantly useful – it saved me time and led to me finding the right results much faster.

The difference to the way I found sites through short-tail terms didn’t really change, but with longtail terms it made my searching much easier and much quicker. If Google roll out the change to everyone, then I could see how it would fit in with their idea of trying to make the web faster. I think it’s a very good thing.

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4 Comments

September 3, 2010 8:33 pm

Vladimir Kelman

Yes, it’s great, it seems to allow too modify/correct search terms “live” while you’re typing.

I wonder how much that continuous network activity with Ajax increases network load. Sure they do it with Google Maps repositioning too, but people search quite more often than they use maps.
Perhaps it’s not a big issue…

September 3, 2010 10:01 pm

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September 8, 2010 3:16 pm

Richard Vaughan

Google will fight harder than normal to get this aceepted as the status quo, for the simple reason that they will make shed loads more money from this technology. Faster searches = increased revenue on the scale of interactions they are dealing with on a day to day basis.

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