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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Live Blogging The "Google Instant" Press Event & How To Watch Live

Google’s holding a highly anticipated “can’t miss” press event today. The news? Perhaps the new results-as-you-type your search feature that started showing today. Perhaps something else. We’ll know at 9:30am Pacific Time today, when the event gets underway. Stay tuned for live blogging.

UPDATE: For more, see our article, Google Instant: The Complete User’s Guide.

Want to watch the event yourself? No problem. Google says it will be webcasted live on its YouTube channel here.

What’s likely to be announced? Our preview post has some speculation. We know that speakers who focus on Google’s user interface side will be presenting. We’re getting further reports that more people are seeing a new feature that shows you search results as you type.

Add to this Google’s latest logo madness, first a logo yesterday with weird flying balls. Today, a white Google logo that gets filled in with color, as you type. Google said of the first logo that it was all about being “fast, fun and interactive.” Perhaps that fits with a results-as-you-type feature also being seen by Google as fun, fast and intereactive.

One thing’s for certain. Out of the blue, Google’s quickly ramped this entire thing up to hype factor 10. Let’s see if it lives up to the mounting expectations. Engage!

Live blogging starts 9:30 PT.

We’re in the auditorium. Waiting. Ironically for the whole Google is faster theme, we’re likely to have the usual Google lateness. But while we wait, we’ve got a CircleVision / Tron-like effect of a main middle screen and two side screens showing something. With Space Mountainish music. Guess we’re go for launch.

And we start. Gabriel Stricker, director of gloal communcations and public affairs, is doing some housekeeping. Saying hi to the streaming audience, there will be Q&A and people can email search2010@google.com with questions.

Why this today? One of Google’s periodic state of the unions of search that they hear are helpful, plus a look under the hood.

Here we are at the SF MOMA, and appropriate since what Google does is one part art, one part science. So this is the art part.

But first, Google’s remarks from Eric Schmidt, said yesterday never underestimate the importance of fast. And there’s going to be an emphasis on that.

Now here’s Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience.

Google just passed 1 billion users per week. Funny, I was just asking them about this last week, if they had user numbers you know, since we keep hearing about Facebook’s users. I don’t think Google’s much expressed this. Now it has — boom, we have double Facebook. Not that they’re mentioning that.

Had 100s of improvements in search already. Caffeine, makes index 50% fresher. So they say, sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes, not so much,

Realtime results, to make real time content show up in search when the right context, to help users know what’s going on.

Making improvements to spell corrections, made it much easier to find them as part of auto-complete. You know, Google Suggest.

Rolled out enhancements to questions and answers. Two years ago, they rolled out Google Squared (um, I think that was last year?). Today, enter questions and get answers at the top, like the inventor of the telephone.

Starts in search, a way to bookmark URLs, Which was really a pullback from the SearchWiki product that took criticism and Google finally shutdown, though she’s not mentioning that.

There was also the redesign of Google this year to three columns.

In January, had fun with their first TV commercial during the Super Bowl on search. Now we’re getting to watch it. It’s like being back at the Super Bowl. Except, not really.

Google renamed itself Topeka for April Fool’s as part of the communities want Google to fiber them up,

And the logos, more of a tease designed to say that search shoul be fun, fast and interactive.

A Fundamental Shift to search. That’s the slide up now, and she saying this is something we’re about to hear.

At the MOMA, one of most important pieces is woman with a hat by Matisse, and we’re getting some art history. And if we wanted some of this history, we’d have had to stitch together all these facts like 70 years ago from books. About 50 years ago, you could call using the phone to a librarian and get the info in 1/2 hours. Now look to 1995, CD-ROM encyclopedias could give you the info in a few minutes — but static,

Now Roy Leichtenstein’s mirror piece at the MOMA sorry didn’t catch the title But if you search for lictenstein mirror sfmoma, you can get info in 1/2 a minute she says,

Takes users about 9 seconds to enter search into google, then 400 millisectons of network time, less than 300 millisenconds to find answer, 400 mill to send it back, then 15 seconds by user to chose from answers sent. Google trying to make their time even less.

Can they optimize the user time? Things like auto-suggest or the design of the page can help.

At some point, there’s a physical speed for entering, typing and for selecting a result. In past few months at Google, think it is possible to have a system to give user faster stuff.

Google Instant, pulls answers as you type.

She’s demoing on how after just typing letters sfm, she’s got the answer she wanted. “It’s just that fast and that interactive.” results stream to you based on prediction of what you’ve typed so far.

Now showing how you can scroll with arrow keys through suggestions and get the results to change.

“A lot of people think Google Instant is search as you type. But it’s actually search before you type.” Actually predict what you’re likely to type and bring the results in real time.

I’m virtually certain some little search engine that I can’t recall has had this type of interface before, years ago.

Google’s excited. Like really excited, as she keeps saying that word, on how this will make search faster better and more powerful than before. They can rebuild it. OK, some 6 million dollar man reference from me at the end there.

Google Instant will be available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE8 on Google in US later today and then to several other countries in coming days. But you have to be signed in to see it.

Which is sending up my alarms, because is this also just part of monitoring more?

Now we have Johanna Wright, director of product management and Othar Hansson senior staff software engineer to talk about how this is going to revolutionize things.

They’re going to talk about three main feetures, like gears that work together. Instant Results, Predictions and Scroll To Search.

Instant Results, no need to type or hit enter to get results showing up.

Johanna asks about weather in SF, Othar types W, and there’s weather. And we’ve got some appaulse. That is pretty cool, assuming that most people who type W probably mean weather. Some won’t.

Johanna talking about reading the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Othar pretends he can’t remember the title, starts typing “the gi..” and he gets an answer. He can see in gray text the rest of what Google thought what he was going to type.

“It’s not quite psychic, but it is pretty clever” Othar says.

Now he types Yose… more Yosemite, showing how you can tab through the suggestions, the results change.

Johanna explaining how he used the down key to move through the suggestions and get answers, something they Scroll To Search.

How about feedback? That’s the real power, when these things all come together.

Now searching for addam… to get info on addams family musical, sees there are suggestions, scrolls around to get answers, the feedback helped him add the word musical since that was what he was after. “What had previously been three searches became one search.”

How about the search button? Is it lonely? No, you can still use it

By the way, via @vanilla_rice on Twitter, apprarently this URL will enable you with Google Instant now:


Also, Google’s got an official blog post up now here with a video about all this. The demos are continuing, by the way. It’s more of the same.

Google says working to bring this to mobile, as well. But hey, what about toolbar users? Like I never go to the Googel home page. Unless there’s a cool logo or something. I’ll ask about that.

Some of those who tested this are going to tell us what they thought. “Oh wow” says one in a video. Older man is like “look at that.” They love it, you get it. It wasn’t going to be a video of people who said they hated it, was it?

Of course, you know someone’s going to hate this. Big question — can you turn it off. I think so, will check.

Now Ben Gomes is speaking, distinguished engineer. There were some who said this would take too much time, too much processing. But people in the company loved it, so they decided they had to do it.

Actually, and I want to ask more about this, having “predicted” result to popular queries and holding them in Google’s cached memory and pushing people toward those popular queries probably saves them time, ot slows them down. But again, I’ll try to ask.

Othar talking about how people fixate on the search box. We’re getting eyetrcking, they scan the suggestions, scan the first result, make changes, then when they get the suggestion they really wanted, then they scroll down even more.

Ben says until now Google’s been HTML experience. Now it’s being AJAX like what Google did with Google Maps. Those that don’t know AJAX, it basically means the same page you started with can send and receive information without you really feelink liek it reloaded.

Google sends autocomplete requests to servers, servers send back predictions and search results.

There’s wrap up stuff. Now here’s Marissa doing more wrap up. Interactivity, Comprehensiveness, Understanding, these are all an axis around how helping users revolve. Why, The Axis Of Search. OK, she didn’t say that part.

Google Instant will save over 350 million hours of users time Google predicts over a year (you know, assuming the results aren’t a waste of time, which sometimes they are).


Robert Scoble, when will be in browsers? In next few month. I think he means native in things like toolbars.

Greg Sterling from Search Engine Land, how are impressions impacting ads? I’ll skip her answer and go to what Google’s just posted:


How impressions are counted
When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:
”    The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
”    The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
”    The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.
We recommend monitoring your ads’ performance the same way you usually do. Google Instant might increase or decrease your overall impression levels. However, Google Instant can improve the quality of your clicks since it helps people search using terms that more directly connect them with the answers they need. Therefore, your overall campaign performance could improve.

In past, 20% of queries were said to have never been seen before. How does this change that? Not clear, but expect people will give bigger problems to solve.

Ryan Singel from Wired, how’s this impact search history, etc. Marissa, this operates as you’d expect, in web history, queries where done a click will show, personalized search operates the same way, will flow results into this.

Irena Slutsky from Ad Age says seems to be a blacklist of words, in fact she can’t find herself by last name, since the slut part seems to be triggering a filter. Johannna, Google filters for things seen related to violence, hate or adult content. They won’t show those type of potential results until you hit return. She apologizies.

How much data is neeed to make this faster from personalization, how much pressure on the data center. Personal info needed is unchanged, says Marissa.

Sergey Brin’s arrived. Or was there and I didn’t see because of all the cameras blocking me. Thinks it’s a little bit of a new dawn in computing, things were a little stagnate on the desktop, web was a big deal for past 15 years but over the past several years, people are more open minded, lots of exciting work going on — he’s saying all this in response to a question about the changing landscape in computers

Mashable, discussion about instant searches impact on SEO. Oh, good, glad Mashable is worried. What will marketers have to do. Ben says ranking stays the same, people will adapt to new interface, but fundamentals stay the change. So there’s not a big change. But behavior might change over time, in terms of the types of questions people do.

There’s a dedicated page all about Google Instant from Google, by the way, including a FAQ with info on how to opt-out.

Didn’t anyone not like this? Marissa says sure, some did and wanted to turn it off and used the switch. Usually for connection speed issues, and it was a small percentage.

As for Caffeine, have to have a great caching strategy that basically keeps things updated as you crawl the web.

How’s Google impact paid search and does this end SEO? No big change, no as said before.

I got in the last question (thanks for slipping me in Gabriel). How’s this impacting the importance of the first result? People seems like they’re going to be even more focused on that — and sometimes those aren’t great. In my example, I said how typing SEA brings up search engines as a suggestion, which lists Dogpile as the top answer — Google doesn’t even make the page.

Google says they noticed people would look at results just visible about the fold, keep typing and learn how to pull things up. This is interesting. If you were expecting to get something, and didn’t get it, you almost forced Google to bring it.

Google also highlighted how important search quality is, huge team devoted to that. Make about 100 ranking improvements per quarter.

And that’s the event over.

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