After many hints, including a few logo changes and Eric Schmidt announcing “”We are already fast… fast is about to get faster”, Google has unveiled its shiny new search engine.

The name just about gives it away: Google Instant. Reminiscent of predictive text on a mobile phone, Google Instant will begin to show you results as soon as you begin typing and adapt those results as you continue with your query.

Once the novelty of Google Instant wears off, it does raise questions as to what it is mostly concerned with; relevancy or speed. Google estimates that the average user will spend nine seconds typing in a query and 15 seconds looking at the results. Google Instant is predicted to reduce total search time by between three and five seconds.  It is true that results will appear more quickly, as soon as you hit the first letter in fact, but the fact remains, for example, that someone who gets as far as “Amaz” could just as easily be searching for “Amazing Grace” rather than “Amazon”.  Granted, it is certainly logical to show results for “Amazon” first, as it has a much higher search volume but the person searching for “Amazing Grace” will still be seeing irrelevant links until they get to the “I”. True, the speed of Google Instant and the fact that a traditional search for “Amazi” will not immediately turn up “Amazing Grace” may make this a moot point. Nevertheless, the format of Google Instant is such that many users will, at first, see irrelevant search results that they would not  see in a traditional search. This may be considered a fair trade-off of saving that three or five seconds, although Harry McCracken of technology blog Technologizer does not agree:

“Google is betting all they have that speed is everything,” He commented to the BBC.

“Saving one or two seconds isn’t that big of a deal. One of my instant thoughts is that I am going to see results I don’t want because until I type enough that it knows what I want, it is going to show me links I am not interested in.”

On another note, the impact that Google Instant will have upon SEO and PPC remains unclear and it is still far too early to make shrewd predictions Some are heralding the beginning of the end, while others, Sergey Brin included, claim that it will make little or no difference. There are arguments on both sides, although SEOs can certainly take heart from the below quote from Matt Cutts:

“The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time. For example, I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.”

Currently, Google Instant should available to users that login in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia. However, If you don’t have it yet and you want to see it (and we know you do!), you can sample Google Instant here: www.google.com/webhp?sclient=psy. On entering your first search query, you will be greeted with the words:

“Welcome to Google Instant. Feelings of euphoria and weightlessness are normal. Do not be alarmed”.

They’re not kidding.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how content, data and advertising are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about marketing and behaviour across all inbound channels. How could a 4Ps search marketing consultant help to grow your brand?