Google’s New Feature is Showing Search Results as You Type (UPDATE: It’s Called “Google Instant”)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=979kKeC3Q3o]
With all the hoopla over Google‘s home page antics over the past few days, speculation as to what it could mean in relation to today’s “can’t miss” press conference has run rampant. With just a few hours before the announcement, it appears that most of the guesses were entirely correct. As Slate‘s Farhad Manjoo reports, his account somehow had the feature activated last night, and he’s been kind enough to post the above video of the feature in action. Manjoo’s account jibes with similar reports Search Engine Land has received, along with a similar video.

UPDATES after the jump.

So, the future of search, that “can’t miss announcement,” is just removing the whole enter key part of the process? There are two ways to look at this. The first is that yes, it seems almost trivial to remove a step most people probably execute without thinking at this point. However, you have to admit that the result, particularly if it remains as fast as it appears in the early videos, is pretty impressive from a technical standpoint.

Furthermore, though this live streaming of results might not be too helpful if you know exactly what to type to fing what you’re looking for, this feature does promise to streamline what has to be one of the most annoying search engine user bottlenecks: refining or fine-tuning your search. As things work now, you’re forced to click or tab back into the search field to change your terms. With this change though, you can see what you’re getting as you type it and add or remove terms as necessary to arrive at what you’re looking for. This is pretty cool, and we’re betting it’s not the only trick Google has up its sleeve for today.

Watch them prove us right today at 9:30am pacific time on their YouTube channel.

UPDATE: Google has announced that this feature is called Google Instant and have released a series of videos introducing it and showing it off, which Engadget has collected here.

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