Google Instant is dead. But what killed it?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Google Instant — the feature where your search results appear as you type your query — has been killed off:

After launching Google Instant — Google’s method of showing search results as you type them — several years ago, Google has removed the feature from search effective today.

As ever, the reason is: mobile. As a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:

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.

Charles Arthur has a more cynical take:

Google Instant got the company into huge amounts of boiling-hot water because the suggestions from the autocomplete were so horrendously biased that it sought a fix – and there is no fix except to remove it.

It’s worth noting that auto-complete suggestions still work:

Google auto complete suggestions

But now you don’t see results based on those auto-complete suggestions until you select them.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.