Google has decided to shut down its Instant search feature, which enabled users to see results even while typing and inquiry into the search engine.
Google Instant search launched in 2010 under the leadership of Marissa Mayer. Mayer called this change a “fundamental shift in search” and the news was covered across all major media when it launched.
Now with the changes in how searchers use mobile — and over 50% of all Google searches being on mobile — Google decided to end this feature. A company spokesperson explains that the company decided to abandon the feature after realizing that many of today’s searches come from cell phones, which don’t support such a feature.
“We launched Google Instant search back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.”
The feature was never live on mobile devices, either on Google’s app or through web browsers. But now, even if you type something on a web browser on desktop, search results will only be delivered when the user hits the enter key.
From now on, recommended search results powered by auto-complete will show up in the standard drop-down menu, but the results page won’t render in real time. Users have always had the option to turn off Instant Search, but now it appears it will be gone for good to create a consistent experience across desktop and mobile.
The fact that the change went mostly unnoticed perhaps demonstrates that Instant was always overkill, and that for most of us, hitting the enter key or clicking a prediction isn’t a big deal.