In our brief video interview, an enthusiastic Mayer touts Google Instant as a “whole new way to search,”a game changer akin to the introduction of power steering in the automotive industry. It’s certainly a neat feature that optimizes the search experience, but the real question remains: how does Google Instant fundamentally change consumer behavior, and in turn SEO and Google’s ad sales.
Mayer was more tentative on this front. See video above. Apologies for the muffled audio on my end, only one wireless mic was working at the time.
There has been a lot of debate as to how Google Instant will impact Search Engine Optimization. By effectively compressing the time of each individual search and allowing users to edit searches in real time, Google Instant has the potential to radically upend the current mechanics of search and the discoverability of sites. According to Mayer, it’s too early to determine how the new feature will affect the company’s bottom line and she believes there will only be a “small change for the SEO community.”
That said, she does expect consumer usage patterns to dramatically shift, including her own. For Google, the hope is that the net effect is not just faster searches, but more searches: “One of the things I’ve seen in my own personal usage, is that while each search is faster, I spend more time doing searches. Because I actually see the results coming in and out as I’m doing my searches… I learn things as I go. And after I’ve actually fulfilled my query, a lot of times I’ll see interesting suggestions, so I’ll scroll around and learn different things and so I think ultimately, it may increase engagement of our users.”
Mayer also told us that Google Instant will eventually hit the other sections of search within the next few months, including Google News and image search.
Bonus footage: After Mayer’s interview, we got a chance to talk to Steve Cheng, a product manager on Google’s Mobile team, who gave us a quick demo on Instant on mobile and discussed their upcoming rollout strategy. See video below.