Just when you think you’ve figured out the rules, Google changes the game. This time, Google is doing it with Google Instant.
Google Instant now appears on most Google search pages. Try it for yourself. You’ll likely see that your search results actually change before your eyes…while you type in your keywords.
Here’s an example:
A homeowner looking to solve a bathtub and tile problem goes to Google and types in the term “bath tub covers”. In the past, Google served up a single page of search results. The homeowner then clicked on one or more listings and ads, and off they went. It was simple, and was representative of how every search engine has worked since the dawn of the Internet.
Google Instant opens a whole new chapter.
Now when that same homeowner types in “bath tub covers”, he or she sees at least three different sets of search results. Those different results change—instantly—as the searcher types in their keywords.
Let me illustrate. As I type in the term “bath tub covers”, I get my first Google results after typing in the term “bath”. Here’s what I see:
Understand that I did not click on the “Search” box. Google just displayed these results dynamically as I typed in “bath”. And what do I see after entering just the first word of my three keywords? Listings for The Bath and Body Works. Now, while I like a good shower gel, I’m not interested in this set of results.
As I finish typing the second word “tub”, Google displays different search results:
Now Google serves up results from vendors selling bath tubs, such as Lowe’s. It’s closer to what I want, but I’m not done.
As I finish entering my keywords, “bath tub covers”, Google serves me yet a third set of search results:
Finally, I am getting to the sorts of search results for which I’ve been looking: someone to install a liner over my bath tub. The ads are from dealers of bath liners—to my mind, much closer to what I want.
That’s Google Instant. Three different search results, all in a matter of the two seconds it took me to type in the term “bath tub covers”.
Is Google Instant a spastic invention derived to satisfy chronic sufferer of attention deficit disorder? Likely, yes. But it’s also Google’s attempt to provide an even more compelling user experience.
Of course, from Google’s perspective, Google Instant has the added benefit of enabling Google to serve ads and display search results that are slightly more targeted. That means that those ads will be clicked on slightly more frequently.
And that means—wait for it!—more money for Google.
How will Google Instant affect home improvement companies, and their ability to generate sales leads online? Google Instant is just two weeks old, and the jury is still out. But for me, Google Instant is at once distracting and presumptive. And I will opt out of it as a user.
But ultimately, we’ll have to wait for Google to decide whether its experiment with Google Instant will ultimately be our future.