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Summary:

Google Instant is a natural and necessary progression for the search giant, especially in the multi-touch, always-on-wherever-you-go computing environment. If all goes well, it is coming to iPhones as well as BlackBerry and Android devices near you later this fall.

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Google plans to introduce Google Instant on mobile devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry before the end of the year, company VP Jonathan Rosenberg told a group of Wall Street analysts on its quarterly earnings call yesterday.

“It’s relatively soon, sometime this fall. Fall lasts a little bit longer in California though,” Rosenberg quipped, indicating that it might be close to the end of the year before the service makes its debut on mobile. Frankly, I can’t wait. As Liz said in her launch news analysis, Google Instant is a mobile app-like approach to search.

Last month, when Google introduced Google Instant, a new faster way of accessing search results, my initial reaction was a bit ho-hum. Thanks to the limitations of 140-characters of a tweet, my reaction seemed much more dismissive. Fast forward to today, and all I can say is –- wow, was I wrong in jumping to conclusions too soon. That was because I wasn’t thinking about it from a mobile perspective. As I wrote on my earlier post about Google’s increased capex spending:

Google Instant in many ways is an evolution of a product to keep up with times – today’s faster broadband mean that the search results need to come up faster than one could type. More importantly, Google Instant is a search product optimized for a brave new world where the user interface is touch rather than keyboards, and devices are not your classic computer, but instead mobile and tablet-like.

Let me explain: I’ve been using Google for search on non-PC browsers for the past few days, especially on Nokia’s N8 (no I don’t hate it), Samsung Galaxy, iPod touch and the iPad. When you use Google.com on mobiles with smaller screens, you tend to make a lot more spelling mistakes. In addition, typing long search keywords is tough. It’s precisely in this environment Google Instant becomes valuable.

On wireless networks, there are several other factors at play: Wireless companies are beginning to push aside flat-rate data plans and are charging based on usage instead, which means that as a customer, I want my results to be more accurate the first time around and without loading too many page (and using too many megabytes). Plus, on wireless, despite forthcoming increases in bandwidth (thanks to 3.5G and 4G technologies) , there are significant performance issues and Google needs to continue to deliver speedy results.

P.S. Thanks to our friends at SeekingAlpha, here’s a little excerpt from Google’s quarterly earnings call, in which Google VP Jonathan Rosenberg explains why they built Google Instant.

So search is still at the heart of the web and with all of this new content coming online, doing search well is even harder than ever. I actually believe search remains one of the most challenging computer science problems of our generation and probably the next one as well. This is why we are so incredibly proud of Google Instant. Many of you guys speculated that we launched Instant to make more money. Well, let me tell you that’s simply not the case. We launched Instant because it’s so much better for the user. In fact, from a revenue standpoint, its impact has been very minimal; and from a resource standpoint, it’s actually pretty expensive.

So why did we do it? Well, we believe from a user standpoint, Instant is outstanding and the data that we are seeing actually bears this out. We took something that no one thought was a problem and we created something that once you use it, you can’t recall how you lived without it before. It saves about two to five seconds per search and users absolutely love it. The percentage of people who select Instant results before they finish their query is steadily rising. So in other words, that means the more they use it, the more they like it.

So let me be clear that Instant wasn’t based on a narrow financial calculation. We launched it because we could and because it’s great for our users, as we have always said. Of course, I know it’s an earnings call, so let me be clear on another point. We do in fact care about money. And search is still the most monetizable moment on the web and as search gets better, our ads have to keep pace. The good news is they are. Turns out we also have a lot of great momentum with AdWords and this is particularly true with the new ad formats.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d) about Google, and its Mobile Efforts:

Photo of Android courtesy of Google Ventures.

  1. Ankur Nandwani Friday, October 15, 2010

    This is great, but I think using Google Instant may potentially drain the mobile battery faster. I was wondering if Google or anyone has considered this aspect while launching Google Instant for mobiles.

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  2. why would you choose google phone over iphone if you really want a smart phone best bet is windows mobile i think

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  3. Om,
    I have turned off instant on my browser. It’s like being interrupted mid-sentence, repeatedly.

    And don’t believe the BS about instant not having anything to with money. Anyone who buys long-tail ads on Google knows different.

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    1. Google does stuff to improve user experience and attract more people, they believe that automatically brings in the money. This is a fundamental philosophical shift, give users what they like, no other big company thinks like it(except for Apple) and you guys dont get it. Yes everything google does, it does it to bring more money, but bringing in more money is next to attracting users. Google likes to attract/help users first.

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      1. the “benevolent father” view of google is one that every monopoly claims during its reign. microsoft, att bell…even the soviets and the brits had similar claims over their respective empires.

        its not that “we guys dont get it” but that we get it too well. it is easy to forget that without anti-trust action against microsoft, Bing would be the only search engine on the browser and the only browser on desktop would be IE. both despite microsoft’s best intentions towards the user.

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  4. like they said of course they do care about money but what they’re saying is the reason they get a lot of money is because they listen to users and what they need. their business model simply works and it’s paying off by the billions.

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  5. Google Instant might take quite a bit of processing power on smartphones, though. We’ll see.

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  6. [...] desktop searches. And with mobile searches only expected to grow, it also supports Google’s move to launch Google Instant on phones soon, giving the company yet another edge in facilitating mobile searches. It also points up how [...]

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