Google's Instant Pages Busts Speed Limit

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-06-15 Print this article Print

Peel off the layers of Platonian pomp -- "the thirst for knowledge doesn't stop when you step away from your computer" and "we're breaking down the barriers between you and the knowledge you see" and Google is becoming the Lamborghini of search.

Those quotes are how Google Fellow Amit Singhal described his search journey June 14 at the company's Inside Search event in San Francisco,

That journey accelerated last September with Google Instant and the company showed yesterday it has come a ways since then.

Not only can Google instantiate predictive search results on desktops and mobile devices, but it can now apply this approach to actual results Web pages.

Indeed, watching Google Chrome Product Manager Alex Komoroske demonstrate this feat, in which Websites appear to load almost instantly when users click on them from the search results page, was amazing to me.

The feature, Komoroske explained, is enabled by prerendering, a technology that he and his team built into the upcoming version of Chrome, version 13. He noted:

Sometimes a site may be able to predict with reasonable accuracy which link the user is most likely to click on next--for example, the 'next page' link in a multi-page news article. In those cases, it would be faster and better for the user if the browser could get a head start loading the next page so that when the user clicks the page is already well on its way to being loaded.

In a side-by-side example, Komoroske saved about 4 to 5 seconds with Instant Pages compared to regular Instant search.

Note here how The Washington Post Web page on the left is missing some of its masthead while the same page prerendered is already done on the right:


See it in action for yourself:

Google also introduced Google Images with Instant, which is basically Instant predictive search applied to Google's Image search technology. This is another great perk, saving countless time hitting the enter button to view relevant results.

Now that Google is beginning to put predictive search technology across its various search properties, it won't be long before we see it in Gmail, Google Apps, and several other Web services such as YouTube

Why not? It's Google's modus operandi to create, embrace and extend.

What's after predictive search? I don't know, but it's another step along the path to basic artificial intelligence. Very exciting. |

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