Google Instant Pages: An Impressive & Speedy Addition To Google Search

inside-search-2Google’s company-wide focus on speed has manifested itself today with another feature that makes the search experience faster. It’s called Instant Pages, and from watching the demo today, it’s an impressive addition to the Google search experience. Instant Pages is one of the many announcements that came from Google’s “Inside Search” event.

How Google Instant Pages Works

With Instant Pages, Google will pre-load the first search result when it’s confident that the user will click on it. The pre-load isn’t just for the base HTML file; Google downloads all images and external resources, and even executes javascript before the user clicks on the search result.

As Google’s Alex Komoroske explained, “There’s no waiting for text or images to load; they’re just there.”

During the event today, Google ran several sample queries with two browser windows open — one with Instant Pages enabled and one without. In each case, the browser with Instant Pages displayed the search result several seconds faster. You can see some examples of the comparison in this Google video.

Instant Pages work whether you’re logged in to a Google account or not.

Google’s Amit Singhal says that, in the company’s testing, Instant Pages saves users about 2-5 seconds per search by immediately getting them to the page they click on and not making them wait for the page to load.

How & When Do I Get Instant Pages?

Instant Pages, at least out of the gate, is a nice promotional feature for Google’s Chrome browser because that’s the only way to access it right now. Here’s the rundown of when and where it’ll be available:

  • Available today in Chrome developer version
  • Available this week in Chrome beta
  • Available in coming weeks on Chrome stable version
  • Available in coming weeks on mobile devices

Google did mention that the code for Instant Pages is open-source, and other browsers are able to incorporate it into their software if they want.

Postscript: There are a few more details on the Google Webmaster Central blog, where Google says the pre-loading of web pages won’t impact how search traffic is measured in Webmaster Tools. Also, a post on the Chromium blog explains how to detect if your pages are being pre-rendered.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Google: Web Search | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.nuttakorn.net nuttakorn

    What do you think about impact to analytic (GA, Omniture and Webtrends)? Is there any different on pre-loaded page and real-page?

  • http://www.chocolatechipcookiest.com Matt Bowers

    Same question. Is this going to inflate traffic numbers artificially?

  • dondevange

    The fact that it’s executing javascript suggests that it will indeed impact Google Analytics or other tracking systems. I hope there is a way to at least identify the pre-loads instead of just seeing traffic numbers inflated.

  • http://www.searcheccentric.com S.E.

    We think that this new feature is good for the users and search-engine point of view.

  • http://myinternetcorner.com/ Steven Sentosa

    I think Google should be able to select which code to be pre-loaded. Since Google can recognize their own GA code, it should not load the JS for it. I’m not sure about other analytics (omniture, webtrends, etc.) Well…Google could always archive non-GA analytics codes and disregard them.

  • http://www.seobythesea.com/ Bill Slawski

    Sounds a lot like the discontinued Google Web Accelerator, but without the option to opt in.

    I remember having to explain to a number of people why they may have received cookies from sites that they never visited because of Web Accelerator.

    There may be some privacy concerns about this because of that.

    There was also a bug with Accelerator that would keep YouTube videos from working correctly when it was turned on. Hopefully that won’t be an issue this time around.

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