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Why Google Went Instant

By Technology Review

September 20, 2010

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Last week, Google rolled out a major change to its search engine's interface. American users, and some users in other countries, began to see the results for their Google searches appear onscreen while they were still typing. For example, if you type "b" into Google's search box, you might see the results of a Google search for "bank of america" appear below the box, along with a sponsored link from Bank of America. Keep typing until you have "bat" in the search box, and the results could suddenly change to match a search for "batman."

Google Instant, as it's called, is primarily about making searching faster and more effective, according to Google. The company says the service saves two to five seconds per search, and helps users refine their queries by providing instant feedback.

But sources at the company say Google Instant's impact on ad sales was a primary focus in testing the service. Google only gets paid for an advertisement, or sponsored link, when a user clicks on the ad, and ads are targeted to specific searches. By displaying a search's ads onscreen a couple of seconds sooner, the frequency of users clicking on those ads could only go up.

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