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Google Instant Search is dead

Google Logo dark
Google Logo dark (Image credit: Android Central)

First launched just way back in 2010, Google Instant Search was supposed to be the future of search, saving countless precious seconds each day by loading results dynamically as you typed, freeing users from the chains of the enter key. The feature was big news at the time — and not just in the tech world, but the broader online and traditional media as well. Instant demonstrated the technical prowess of Google at the time, and the continuing strength of its core product.

Only now, Google Instant Search is being retired. The reason? More of us search on mobile devices, without Instant (where Instant was never introduced), and so it makes more sense to maintain just one version of Search on both mobile and desktop.

SearchEngineLand, which broke the story, received this statement from Google:

We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. 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.

The fact that the change went mostly unnoticed perhaps demonstrates that Instant was always overkill, and that for most of us, hitting the enter key or clicking a prediction isn't a big deal.

RIP.

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

22 Comments
  • Another Google feature laid to rest. Say hello to Wallet for me.
  • Wallet still exist... They just separated the NFC pay feature to its own app
  • Stevenmc Yes but I liked the physical card that it used to include. As it is now is useless.
  • The long lamented Google Reader and Google Wave will be there for comfort it.
  • let's not forget Buzz... though not sure if that one was generally lamented...
  • I do, a bit. Buzz was like a G+ or twitter that I'd actually use... it was nice a low-key.
  • Isn't Wave now Drive and Hangouts?
  • What? Why? I use Google search website most times and I heavily rely on the instant searches that keeps popping up while I type. Aarrghhh!
  • I could be wrong, but I think that those things that pop up are predictions, which is NOT going away.
    I'm not even sure what instant search is.
  • just as Google Suggestions showed things as you typed, Google Instant Search showed actual results in the webpage itself as you typed.
  • Oh well. If I didn't read it here I probably would've never noticed.
  • What's next? Autocomplete? With this logic, traditional Gmail can go, too.
  • Never even knew it existed in the first place lol...I mostly use the predictions.
  • Predictions is enough. Good riddance.
  • you make it sound like Google Instant Search was actively a bad thing. Did you really have a problem with it?
  • Wtf
  • I hope this is the thing that drops down from the search/menu bar. I can't tell you how often I'm helping someone with their computer over the phone, I say "go to teamviewer.com" they type "tea" then see some random result pretending to be teamviewer, and almost install malware. Please let that "feature" die.
  • It's not that.
  • This is just plain stupid... When you have been using instant search for so long then suddenly taking it away for a reason as stupid as "oh well phones don't do it..." is like taking something as amazing as all wheel drive away from cars just because more people own economy cars that are only front wheel drive... It's a huge feature that while seemingly trivial and insignificant, is actually something insanely important to millions if not billions of people...
  • well i hate it n i miss it now
  • How about killing Allo? It did have potential but with the lack of proper sms integration or give users the choice of setting it up as the default text app, it arrived too late and half baked to the party. Is it just me or the team in charge of your "social" department need a classic revamp, Google? Let's start with firing the brains behind Allo and it's shoddy marketing.
  • The only way Allo is ever going to be usable is if they replicate the kind of experience you get with iMessage and Apple Messages. I feel like "SMS Integration" has become some sort of overused code word. Just say what you want. They should clone FaceTime and iMessage. Google Voice is not a usable subject situate as most people will not change their phone number for something like this. It just makes Apple's devices more attractive to consumers.