Google is getting rid of its landmark Instant Search feature, which automatically populates search results as you type in a query, according to Search Engine Land. Instant Search was first introduced back in 2010 under the guidance of Marissa Mayer, then the company’s vice president of search and user experience. It was a pivotal change in not just how users experienced Google, but also how they used the internet to seek out knowledge. Google estimated at the time that it would collectively shave off millions of seconds per hour by surfacing results as fast as possible and cutting down the time it takes to write out an entire query.
Now, however, more than half of Google searches happen on mobile, with the scales continually tipping away from desktop as time goes on. On mobile screens, Instant Search doesn’t make as much sense given we use our fingers and virtual buttons to interact with software, and trying to load a results page on top of the onscreen keyboard isn’t exactly good user experience design. In a statement given to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson explained the change:
We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.
Now, recommended search results powered by auto-complete will show up in the standard drop-down menu, but the results page won’t render in real time. Users have always had the option to turn off Instant Search, but now it appears it will be gone for good to create a consistent experience across desktop and mobile.