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Gone in an Instant

The hoopla around Google Instant has finally died down. It now remains an annoying feature that Google will diminish like the equally lauded ability to comment on results that came and went. Fingers crossed for good luck at my end that Google Instant makes its exit sooner rather than later. It is an accomplishment of engineering that fails the user experience test on a grand scale.

Users do not think as quickly as machines and they certainly cannot type as fast. Below, I am trying to find information on Bright Edge SEO ( Unfortunately, the war between auto-complete and Google Instant turns me into collateral damage as I am unable to complete my search without resorting to painstakingly slow two-finger typing.


Google Instant Search for BrightEdge SEO

Trying to find information on “marketing software” was equally as painful until I adapted my behavior to Google Instant’s performance. There’s something wrong with that user experience scenario.


Google Instant Search for “marketing software

Search engines seem fast enough for their users who have consistently asked for relevance over speed. Unfortunately, computational determination of relevance is quite different from that of a user base made up of thought-processing bipeds. For people, relevance is a matter of feeling, whether one of satisfaction, awareness or resolution. Computational relevance can be revealed in an instant with changing results based on keystroke. Human relevance takes a more time and more consideration. Search engines deliver computational relevance. We searchers are responsible for the human kind and that cannot be delivered in an instant.

Just ask Clarabelle Rodriguez who purchased eyeglass frames from an online retailer that appeared high in her search results. The harrowing tale of cyber-bullying documented in the New York Times and other media revealed that this placement resulted from negative comments about the vendor. Clarabelle thought that this vendor and its top 5 result meant that the site was good because it was relevant as in trustworthy. Google’s algorithm thought the site was good because a lot of people were talking about it and that’s logical, right?

I am ready, willing and able to sacrifice the nanoseconds of time Google Instant claims to save me in the interests of typing with all of my fingers and taking a closer than the blink-of-an-eye look at search suggestions and search results that try to keep up with my typing. For those who wish to join me, you can turn off Google Instant by clicking on the “Instant is on” link (in teeny, tiny font) to the right of the search result and selecting Off (press to enter search). Unfortunately, the Google engineers won over the Google usability folks and you have to: 1) perform a search before you can turn off Google Instant and 2) cannot make this a permanent change and so must do it every time after clearing Google’s tracking cookies.


How to Turn Off Google Instant

I know that it is an effort to move the mouse and click that search button. Take my word; it is worth it in the long run. Just ask Clarabelle.
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