Google's Search Queen On Users Changing Behavior

Google Instant Marissa Mayer
Google Instant Marissa Mayer

With the rollout of Google Instant search, some old dogs will be learning new search tricks. And if Marissa Mayer, Google vice president of search products and user experience, has her way, the learning curve will be steep.

Google Instant (GOOG), unveiled Wednesday, is designed to spit out suggested search terms as a user types letters into the search bar, with the end goal of shaving two to five seconds off of each search attempt. With the new search feature, Mayer said she anticipates changes in the way users enter search terms and has seen this borne out in early testing.

Some of those changes include more complex search terms to an increase in the number of searched conducted, said Mayer during an interview at the unveiling.

Google, which already relies on users Internet protocol (IP) addresses to determine the location of their computer to deliver relevant information, says the same will hold true for the way Google Instant works. A San Francisco user entering the letter "w" may call up a list of keywords that begin with "weather," while someone in another city entering "w" would get a different result.

She acknowledged during the presentation that some users didn't like the new feature and turned it off. And apparently that has held true the day after its launch, according to users' complaints on Google's help forum.

A user named Kunzaito said:

The ability to turn this off appears to be broken. I have "Do Not Use Google Instant" selected but I'm still getting the suggestions.

Another user logos66, offered this suggestion:

no, it should definitely be opt-in, because after you switched it off, it's switched back on automatically if you cleared private data, and this is not exactly what people who don't want to use it are expecting when they open a new session or just keep browsing after clearing data.

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But others like Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, said he finds the new feature "cool" and believes it will make the search process faster.

Ash Buckles, vice president of client services for consulting firm, said users are not the only ones who will need to adjust to the changes. Companies looking to beef up their search engine optimization to improve the amount of traffic to their site will also need to step up their efforts.

"Google Instant definitely changes the way we interact with Google, since it will be updating as users type," Buckles said. "But it doesn't change the need for companies to have a keyword or set of keywords."

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