3 Ways to Use Google Instant Search

Google’s new Instant Search feature has gotten a lot of attention in the past day or so, but what can it do for you?


Whether you are a busy SEO professional or a stay-at-home dad, you have probably noticed that Google has upgraded their search engine to provide instant results as you type. If you haven’t heard of this yet, according to statistics, you will experience it soon enough. 

When you visit the search engine, you will be greeted by the same simple home page. The difference will be obvious once you begin to type. As soon as you enter the first letter of your search term, results will appear instantly. These results are determined by the term Google assumed you were going to type.  For example, when you type the letter “X” you will receive results for the assumed search term “Xbox.” 


The Huffington Post created a compilation of images and text showing which companies were lucky enough to show up as search results for just one letter.  Craigslist list got lucky with the letter “C,” K-mart with the letter “K,” and (to my delight) Xbox with the letter “X.” For the complete Huffpost list, Click Here

Many bloggers and tech-savvy professionals have chimed in on Google Instant, but it isn’t all praise. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists, for example, are wondering what will happen to their years of hard work developing strategies with keywords and specified pay-per-click and per-impression advertising. 

Only time will tell, but for now, we want to give you some tips on how Google Instant Search can benefit you and how it can be tailored to your specifications. 

Turn OFF Google Instant Search 

When people complain about the Facebook privacy settings and how all of their personal information is being spread all over the internet to whomever wants it, I can only think of one thing to say to them: “Don’t use Facebook.” 

If the idea of a system that will predict your search queries and provide you with results according to those predictions does not appeal to you, there is an easy way to turn Instant Search off.  Some people don’t like the fact that results are shown before they even finish typing their search query. 

Google is clever, though. They will not show you the option to turn off Instant Search until you actually type something into the search box. Once you have typed something, anything, into the search box, some search results will appear. To the right of the search box, there is a small, clickable text reading “Instant is on.” Simply click that text and choose “Off.” 

Find Things You Can’t Remember 

The beautiful thing about Google Instant Search is that it helps you find things you don’t know everything about. For example, if you are trying to find a director or author you liked last week, you can start typing what you remember of their name and come up with the person you are looking for.  This works for movie titles, song titles, or pretty much anything with a proper name. It also works well if you misspell a word; it will realize the mistake and show you results for the correctly spelled search term. 

A great way to experience this is what Google describes as “scroll to search.” When you have typed in your search query, or maybe just half of it, you will be presented with multiple options to choose from. Because the search results for each term appear instantly, you have the ability to quickly and efficiently sift through your options and maybe discover something you weren’t even looking for. 

Personalized Predictions (On/Off) 

Another option that has seen both praise and criticism is the way Google Instant personalizes the predictions it makes according to your web history. In other words, Google remembers the things you commonly search for and suggests those before the otherwise ideal option.  If you search the term “flowers” all the time, the search term “flowers” would be predicted before the original option. 

Some people, however, don’t want their web history saved and their predictions specified to their previous actions. Although it isn’t as simple as it should be, Google provides a way for you to turn off personalized predictions and avoid saving your web history all the time.  Unfortunately, and to the benefit of Google, you have to be signed up for a Google account for this option to be utilized. 

Here is a link to turn off Google’s personalized predictions from your web history: Turn Off Personalized Predictions 

Is Google Instant Search a revolutionary tool or a simple annoyance? What do you think?


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