Google Instant Arrives on iPhone. And Android, Too.


Originally announced back in September, Google Instant (s goog) for mobile went live today, bringing the auto-populating search results to iPhone (s aapl) and Android devices. Like on the desktop, Instant displays search results as you type into the search field in mobile Safari, as well as Android’s browser.

It isn’t enabled by default on the iPhone, requiring you to activate it by clicking a link below the search bar when you first navigate to It’s also available only in the U.S. initially, and not at any of the international domains like, etc. If you aren’t seeing it yet, Google advises that you wait a moment and refresh. You have to be using iOS 4 on the iPhone, or Android 2.2 or above for the feature to work, too. Google has a demo video, which you can see below.

I found that it works about as quickly as the desktop version, and that on the iPhone, the functionality is somewhat limited by the fact that your on-screen keyboard obscures most of your results. Still, all you have to do is hit the “Done” button to view your aut0-populated list, so it is a lot faster than searching via Google’s mobile site used to be. In fact, since you don’t have to load a new page, and you can usually see right away if you have your desired top hit, navigating one-handed becomes much faster overall.

It’s a nice addition, and possibly more useful than its desktop counterpart, since it caters to the limitations of mobile browsing. I tested on 3G and Wi-Fi connections. Let us know how well it’s working for you.

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Harsh Agrawal

Maybe its just me, but who actually goes to Google search site on their mobile device? especially android users that have a built in search bar app to which instant does not apply?

Cool idea but seems to have much more functionality on desktops

Rocket Scientist

This sounds eerily like Google Suggest, which is an ancient tool I used in early 2005 (before Google Maps was unleashed).

The real question is why did it take Google so long to release this when they had similar technology years ago ?

Kevin C. Tofel

Although it might be difficult to measure, I wonder what the impact on data usage Google Instant will have. Probably negligible on a per-search basis, but will it add up through repeated use? Might be interesting for folks on the lower-tiered data plans. Hmm….

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