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Google Instant Previews Make Searches Visual

David Gilbert by

Google Instant Previews Make Searches Visual

In its official blog, Google today unveiled the next advancement in its on-going search for well, the perfect search. Not content with Google Instant, which it rolled out in August, the internet giant now allows users to get a visual representation of their search results.

“Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a search result and highlights the most relevant sections, making finding the right page as quick and easy as flipping through a magazine,” Google said in its blog today.

To use Instant Previews, click once on the little magnifying glass icon next to the title of any search result and a visual overview of the page will appear on the right-hand side of the search page. From there, hover your cursor over any other result to see a preview. If using your mouse is just a too far for you, fear not as you can hit the right arrow key to get the preview pane to appear and a quick tap of the down arrow will scroll though the various search results.

So how much is this going to make searching the internet more satisfactory? Wait for it....according to Google "In our testing, we’ve found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5 per cent more likely to be satisfied with the results they click." A whole five per cent. Wow.

Despite our apparent cynical view of the increased satisfaction rating, we here at TrustedReviews do think this advance in search technology is quite impressive and something which we will be using regularly we suspect.

Google say this system will allow for the quick comparison of results, allow you to pinpoint relevant results and interact with the results page. We can see how it would work should you be looking for something specific such as a picture, chart or map however if you are looking for text it could be difficult to pinpoint this on a preview pane.

One thing which will help this is the “Text call outs” feature which highlights where the search terms appear in the webpage so you can evaluate whether it is what you are looking for or not.

Google also claim that loading all these previews will not adversely affect the speed at which results are returned. “With Instant Previews, we match your query with an index of the entire web, identify the relevant parts of each webpage, stitch them together and serve the resulting preview completely customized to your search - usually in under one-tenth of a second.” – which is pretty impressive if true.

You can try out Google Instant Preview yourself here.

Go to comments

Ian Yates

November 9, 2010, 10:15 pm

"advance in search technology is quite impressive"

That's a bit much. It doesn't seem all that different from Google/Yahoo Preview extensions of old; nor even from Bing.

I do like the idea of the keyboard hooks, though.


November 10, 2010, 12:50 am

Reminds me of Cooliris previews tbh.

Hamish Campbell

November 10, 2010, 1:03 pm

Seeing as they cache the net, do I really need to log on to the internet any more? Can't I just dial in to Google and get everything from them?


November 10, 2010, 2:06 pm

I really dislike having to use Google. It makes my eyes bleed it's so ugly. This visual clutter doesn't help.


November 10, 2010, 3:46 pm

@haim: Seeing as they cache the net, do I really need to log on to the internet any more?

:), Amazing how Google do cache so much of the web, like you say for static pages you could practically use Google as a proxy server. But of course for Dynamic pages it wouldn't be much use, eg. Forums, Online Banking / Shopping etc.

Back to the Google Instant Preview, I think I could see uses for this. The nice thing the Webpages are pre-rendered so no waiting there. I've often gone to a website and thought it was good, and forgot to bookmark it, but I would remember what it looked like so using the preview will save loads of bandwidth / time here. Also you could instantly filter outer websites that are obviously naff etc. Of course pure Flash sites don't appear.


November 10, 2010, 3:50 pm

Also worth noting it appears to be Chrome only, or at least it seems that way. IE8 doesn't appear to work for me.


November 10, 2010, 6:55 pm

it's working on google.co.uk without instant and without logging in for me - on firefox, although it is to be noted that sometimes the feature is there ans other times it is gone like it was working a few minuets ago but now nothing not even the little magnifying glass next to the search.


November 10, 2010, 6:57 pm

and as ever just after I post it is now fully working not logged in and not using instant on uk google and previews work on both firefox and IE8 flawlessly

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