Google Instant Pressures Bing, Yahoo

Google Instant could give Microsoft Bing and Yahoo trouble in the search engine market because it accelerates time to search results. This means more searches and possibly more search ad clicks for Google.

It's too early to tell how or if the 1 billion Google users will cotton to Google Instant, the predictive search technology geared to accelerate information retrieval.

Yet analysts seem confident the technology is a game-changer for the search engine versus Microsoft Bing and Yahoo, helping Google make more money from more searches made.

Thanks to an impressive feat of AJAX Web and caching technologies, Google Instant lets users enter search queries and watch the results and their associated ads surface with each letter typed into the search box.

Because Instant often retrieves relevant results before users finish typing their query, the technology could help users shorten their search time by an average 2 to 5 seconds per query.

That's a big consideration at a time when users are spending on average of 25 seconds composing a query, entering it and alighting on the right result. Instant users will rarely have to conduct several searches to find the information they seek.

Analysts looking at the bottom line have surmised that enabling users to conduct quicker searches will lead to more searching on Google, which ultimately means more opportunities for search ad revenue.

"We think such an improvement could increase the total volume and frequency of searches as users adopt the automation," Jefferies and Co. analyst Youssef Squali said in a research note.

Moreover, because Google Instant offers a faster route to popular results, this will boost the revenue opportunity for so-called head-end queries. Because these queries monetize better on a cost-per-click basis, long-tail queries will become de-emphasized by the predictive search.

This "may lift revenue per search (RPS), all else equal," Squali said. eWEEK detailed Instant's impact on SEO here.

"While Google's real-time search interface may take a bit of getting used to, we believe it could over time enhance search volume, frequency and yield on desktops, and eventually mobile devices," Squali wrote.

If potential measures up to practice, it doesn't bode well for Bing and Yahoo. Together, the rivals are struggling to combine for 30 percent market share versus Google, which commands 65 percent in the United States and more abroad.