What Does Google Instant Search Mean for Android?


Earlier today Evan reported on the new “Google Instant Search” which is available in your desktop browser now and will reportedly be coming to Android (and other handhelds?) fall of 2010.

What is “Instant Search”? How does it work? And what does it mean for Android?

“Instant Search” leverages Google’s new “Caffeine” search engine algorithms. This is how Google scours the web for information, and the manner in which they save it so it can be easily found later.

The whole point behind Caffeine was to get information into Google’s index as quickly as possible and “provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches” than their last index. This means your search results are more relevant and timely than they ever have been before.

Caffeine search results are retrieved much faster than before because the efficiency in which things are stored has been increased, and results can be found quicker. Instead of typing in your search and hitting clicking the search button, Google can now give you search results based on what you’ve typed so far. This reduces the amount of data you have to input to only that which is necessary, and can help shape the way you word your searched to yield better results.

For desktop computers this equates to a nicer overall experience. For mobile devices including Android phones this means you won’t have to type as much into your mobile search box to get to the information that you want. The less typing required, the quicker access you’ll have to the result that you’re looking for.

This is especially helpful with addresses, which are generally constructed “backwards” from the perspective of a search engine. When looking up an address a computer would prefer you start generically, and get more specific: country, state, city, street name, house number. But addresses are almost always presented in exactly opposite: house number, street name, city, state, country.

If you have Chrome installed on your desktop computer take a look at www.TheWildernessDowntown.com (an HTML5 and Google experiment), type an address into the “Enter the address of the home where you grew up” search box, and you’ll see just what I’m talking about. Your address bubbles up to the top very, very quickly based on the results from Google’s Instant Search.

When you apply this approach to data stored within Google (which they still hope to be “everything”), contacts, appointments, locations, businesses, and all kinds of other information become nearly instantly accessible.

This plays an even more important part when you consider the limitations of screen real-estate, limited data bandwidth, and processing speed on mobile devices. Instead of sending a request to Google over the data network and getting back page after page of results that you have to sort through to find what you’re looking for, the search itself becomes predictive and more intelligent. This limits the amount of data that needs to round-trip between you and Google’s servers. It reduces the number of “potential” search results with (ideally) the one specific thing you’re looking for.

Mobile users are the real winners here. I, for one, can’t wait for Instant Search to come to Android!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.