A funny thing happened after Google didn’t announce any of the products people were hoping for last week. Rumors have been swirling about GoogleTV and Google Music being prepared for a fall release. The next two versions of Android, Gingerbread and Honeycomb, are just over the horizon and expected to bring full tablet compatibility. One week after Apple announced upgraded iPods and a new Apple TV, Google unveiled Instant Search. And started a revolution.
The idea behind Instant Search is simple; Google couldn’t make their search engine return results much faster than it already was. Results are displayed nearly right after you click the search button. But Instant Search turns this on its head, displaying results as you type your query, in real time. With their algorithms Google can predict what you are typing as you go, plus the search engine uses other good ides like your location and search history to generate a set of results custom to you.
It’s a great idea, if not necessarily the most exciting of the many projects Google is working on. A few days after Instant Search an inspired Stanford student Feross Aboukhadjeh, created YouTube instant. And from the looks of things, Google is impressed, with the CEO of YouTube extending wows and a job offer to him. Then another developer created an instant search interface for the iTunes store. Then Instant App Store. And Twitter instant.
Instant has suddenly become the next big thing and why shouldn’t it? As our culture creates more data we need better ways to search through what can be overwhelming amount of information. Music, micas, books, TV shows, photos, and applications all contain metadata for refined searching. Bringing up results as you go could be the next step in helping us makes sense of the mess all this data creates.