Since 2010, typing a query into Google on desktops would automatically begin listing results based on what Search assumed you were looking for. Google is now removing this desktop-specific feature given how most searches occur on mobile.
Announced by Marissa Mayer back in 2010, Google Instant was touted as a “fundamental shift in search” that increased both speed and convenience. However, this feature always required a fast internet connection given how several sets of results might be loaded as you typed your search query. As such, Instant never made it to mobile due to the bandwidth and resource constraints involved.
Given how “more of our searches happen on mobile,” Google is removing this desktop-specific feature to focus on a better and more consistent experience for all devices, as noted in the company’s comment to Search Engine Land:
We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.
Google Instant’s removal is already in effect and results in a slightly different search experience. Entering a term into the search box on the Google homepage does not automatically load results. Rather a dropdown with various suggestions appear that require users to manually select before the results page is loaded.
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