09/15/2010 03:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Instant: It Isn't Just for Coffee Anymore, It's Everywhere Online

Last week was the week of 'instant.' It began with the launch of Google Instant, which added a new evolution to online searches. And then almost instantly, we saw the birth of Google Instant : Maps, Google Instant: Images, YouTube Instant, Etsy Instant, iTunes Instant, and Twitter Instant

What the proliferation of instant online platforms means for you is that information is coming at you faster and (hopefully) it is better targeted to what you are searching for. The general idea is that the search box is smarter than you are. It will finish your thought for you and give you multiple terms which ideally helps you to create better search terms.

By using instant searches it is expected that you will save 2-5 seconds per search. The predictive nature of Google Instant, for example, is designed to guide you to the best result before you have time to type in what you are looking for. There is debate as to whether this is true.

As an example, as I started to type in "best cities in America," this is what I saw:


Granted, I had only typed in three letters, but it is curious to note that Best Buy is the first result. Is that because people are looking for Best Buy more than any other 'best' topic on Google? Or is it because they spend the most amount of money per month in paid search with Google for the term 'best'?

As soon as I typed "best cities i" the top result was actually "best cities in America," which is still impressive.


Many people have already turned off Google Instant, but if you haven't tried it yet I suggest you give it a go. Nothing's perfect, but Google has seemed to improve the user experience yet once again.