Google continually works to improve our experience, resulting in more time spent on their site, more exposure for their advertisers, and more money for Google from ad placement. Last month Google revealed Instant Pages that gets them closer to their aim of getting us the pages we want faster and faster. Although Google’s not reading our minds just yet, they’re getting pretty close. When you use Google Search, Google utilizes Google Instant suggesting items that you might be searching for based on the few letters that you’ve typed. Now with Google Instant Pages, Google guesses which one of the results you are likely to choose and contacts the servers hosting those pages to pre-load their content while you review the search list and make your decision.
So how does Google make an educated guess on what your choice will be before you’ve even decided? It’s based on an algorithm that looks at a great deal of personal data collected, including your individual search habits, as well as 200 or so other pieces of information. So, getting the page you want will hopefully be faster and your Google experience better.
All that is great but with everything there’s a down-side. The problem comes when you don’t choose the page that Google thinks you will. First is the issue of the page view tracking count; does the pre-load count as a view? Secondly, does the extra computing and unneeded server work require more power than necessary? Then, there are the privacy issues – what does Google know about you to make their predictions?
Finally, some people say that the combination of Google’s Instant and Instant Pages encourages a very limited behavior. With Instant, the user is shown options to choose from as opposed to having to develop the keywords on their own. (This may also give preferential treatment to certain pages that are somehow, maybe accidentally privy to those keywords.) And with Instant Pages, Google is using your past habits to predict future actions, resulting in “tunnel vision”. On the other hand, Instant may offer options that the user hasn’t considered, and that may lead them to an all new area.
Google says that they want their users to get a variety of information from different perspectives. And although they are making predictions, they also have algorithms in place to avoid too much personalization. They are looking for a good balance between personalization and variety.
Currently, Instant Pages only works within Google’s own browser, Chrome.