Google tests live updates for search

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google is testing what it calls 'streaming' search, where results change with every letter typed.

It's essentially an ultra-dynamic predictive search, where results are updated with every keystroke, and without the user hitting 'enter'.

The feature was discovered by unwitting guinea-pig Rob Ousbey, a UK-based SEO consultant, who has posted a video on his blog, here.

As Ousbey starts to type 'strawberry cheesecake recipes', the standard Google search suggestions appear underneath. As the first 's' appears, it suggests 'seattle times'; once he gets to 'straw', it's suggesting 'strawberry pie'.

Unusually, though, the list of search results is updated accordingly and automatically, without Ousbey hitting 'enter' at all. First, the Seattle Times appears as the top search suggestion, then a recipe for strawberry pie.

Of course, Google is constantly testing new features, and not all of them make it into the outside world. This particular one must be pretty bandwidth-heavy, and could cause users more trouble than it saves.

But the test confirms Google's strategy of making users want what they get, rather than getting what they want. As CEO Eric Schmidt recently told the Wall Street Journal,  "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

So, hey, you thought you wanted a cheesecake recipe, but Google knows what you really want is to read a newspaper instead.