Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on November 10th, 2010

New Google Search Features: Search Previews and Google Instant for Mobile

google instant legos

The fine folks at Google certain know how to keeps themselves busy. On their continuous quest to improve the overall user experience of internet search, they have recently rolled out two new search features that bring a tear of joy to my eye.

We at Volacci care about keeping you in the middle of the buzz, not just with tips and advice, but with the news as well. And while it is impossible for this blog to keep up with the Twitters, CNNs, and Googles in delivering the news, these new features warrant a quick post. You may want to grab a tissue because these new features are beeeeeautiful.

Google Rolls Out Search Previews

google instant for mobile

Tired of clicking through to a website, just to click back to the results page because the site wasn’t what you were looking for? Same here. Well, now we can both stop this nasty habit.

Google now lets you preview search results before you click on them. This new “instant” feature–which is already available–helps users better choose between search results. Aptly named Google Instant Previews, this new feature gives users the ability to see a website before they visit it.

Here is a snapshot of Search Preview in action with the search term: nasa photos. Pretty sweet, but how does Google accomplish this amazing feat?

Google has taken a snapshot of every web page in its index and gives users access to it via a magnifying glass icon that sits to the right of the search result. When you click or hover over the icon, the webpage will pop up in a window to the right. Here is one for Austin indian food restaurants:

Now you can view the content of the website without visiting it. The content that is previewed in the window shows the section of the page where the search term or keyword occurs. If you are searching for a specific product, phrase, or person, you can check out the preview to see where it is on the page.

Should You Get Excited?

Yes. This is the next evolution in the search engine results page. This will be beneficial for users who are looking for specific charts, graphs, pictures, products and services. The preview will show you if the site is appropriate to the search you conducted. This is bad for websites that don’t implement search engine optimization (SEO) and landing page optimization (LPO).

The importance of SEO and LPO are highlighted by this new feature. SEO is important to implement for this new feature because you want your webpage to be displayed in the top results in order to be one of the few previews users click on. LPO becomes increasingly important with Google Search Preview because, if your web page’s preview looks credible, professional, and clearly communicates its intent, you will have more click-throughs than click-aways.

If you don’t implement SEO and LPO on your website, your web pages will be buried deeper among irrelevant search results. Oh, your search preview looks like a kindergarten crayon drawing? Yikes. Your landing pages use the Comic Sans font? Please, call me.

Introducing Google Instant for Mobile

Early this fall, Google rolled out Google Instant for their search results. With Google Instant, actual search results are instantly shown while you type in your query in the search box, helping users refine their search as they go. This saves valuable time during the search process on a regular desktop browser. But wouldn’t it be great for Mobile as well?

As you wish. Last Friday, Google rolled out Instant for mobile in beta for most iPhone and Android devices in the U.S. Check out this Google demo video:

Google Instant for mobile is just like its predecessor on regular browsers. The new mobile feature works best on 3G and WiFi networks, with the ability to enable or disable easily without having to leave the page you are on. Just tap the “turn on” or “turn off” link.

Google Instant for mobile is currently available on Android 2.2 devices and iPhones and iPods running iOS 4 in the U.S. in English. Have you used it yet? Does it make for a better user experience? Let me know in a comment below.

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