The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 16th

On The Wire

Google instant — useful or annoying?

Last week Google launched a new search feature — Google Instant, which gives suggestions as the user is entering the query and then gives results before the user finishes typing.

Using Google Instant reduces one’s search time by 3 to 5 seconds. Before Google Instant, the average search process took about 25 seconds, according to a Google press release.

We talked to experts and students on campus to see how exactly this feature functions and how users feel about it.

“From a technical standpoint, it’s amazing that they can do that,” said Kevin Jeffay, a UNC computer science professor.

Google makes these predictions based on the vast data it has collected on search behaviors.

He said it was the next logical step for the company. Google has been giving search suggestions and now it makes sense they are perfecting the search results as well.

“It’s good for curious browsers,” Jeffay said.

As Jeffay was searching for American Airlines, America’s Got Talent was one of Google’s suggestions after he typed “am” — a random new topic he might discover.

“They deliver stuff at unbelievable speeds.”

But he said a major concern is that the server might be overloaded in network areas with large populations since the new feature relays information by keystroke.

What do you think?

“I like the drag down options but I don’t like how it automatically updates the results,” said UNC freshman and nursing major Kasey Huffman. “It distracts me from what I’m typing.”

Senior environmental health science major Elliot Montpellier said it could be annoying but he said he liked it in general.

“It’s good,” he said. “It simplifies and streamlines the process for searches where you’re not sure.”

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