I'll admit upfront that the folks at Google who came up with this are smarter than me. I also realize that they tested this and must have had more positive feedback than negative. I'm guessing that AJAX developers are also happy. That said, I'm not a big fan of Google Instant…yet.
In face-to-face communication and over the phone, I like to be able to finish my question without the recipient of my question guessing out loud what I'm going to ask for with every word I say in the sentence. Somebody helping answer a question that I can't describe properly is one thing. Jumping in after every word or pause is another. I find Google instant to be a little annoying like the person that won't let me finish a sentence.
As a technology marketing professional, I'm trying to determine how Google Instant is going to affect Search Marketing. Certainly the number of Pay-Per-Click ad impressions skyrockets. I was doing a little demonstration for a plastic surgeon client or ours and typed in "N – O" as the first two letters of "Nose Job in Beverly Hills". After the letter O, "Nordstrom" was suggested as the top organic result and "Nordstrom at Amazon" was one of the sponsored PPC ads. Types in "Nose J" and the ads are different than "Nose Jo". The results for the term "Septoplasty" throughout the spelling process were much better but I believe that's because there weren’t as many competing ads for the term or related terms. It was good to see that Google waited until after I typed in the "O" before it displayed PPC ads. With the "O" I got results for "septoplasty", had it been an "I" it would have been for "septic tank cleaning" I could have done without the results for "September" as I was typing the "T" though.
I think this will change how I buy search terms and how we optimize. Long-tail search terms probably won’t be as relevant. We're doing some testing internally to see if we can take advantage of this new change for our clients. If we can find clear benefits for our clients, I may become a big fan. In the meantime I think I'll turn the feature off.
Tim Howell is an Interactive Marketing Strategist with Binary Pulse Technology Marketing. His interest and areas of expertise include channel marketing and all facets of search marketing. He is a certified Google Adwords Professional and Yahoo Ambassador. Prior to founding Binary Pulse, Tim worked in sales and marketing for NEC Technologies, Lotus Development and a large Direct Marketing Reseller. Tim is lives in Newport Beach, California with his wife and young daughter. He blogs at Ones and Zeros, where this piece was originally posted.