Google Unveils Search Speed Improvement

Published by: Frank Galvano on 15th Jun 2011 | View all blogs by Frank Galvano
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Google Unveils Search Speed Improvement

Google Inc on Wednesday unveiled a series of changes designed to speed up the world's leading search engine, saying the new Instant Pages system will deliver search results 2 to 5 seconds faster by reducing the time it takes for pages to load.  The Mountain View, California-based company also said it will soon offer voice-activated and enhanced image search services.

Despite its efforts to expand into other areas, Google, which processes more than a billion Internet searches per day, says that it remains focused on its core search business.  The company still overwhelmingly controls the U.S. search market, though Microsoft's Bing is slowly eating away at that dominance.  Bing's search share climbed to 14 percent in May from 12 percent at the end of last year.  Bing also processes the searches on Yahoo, which has a 15.9 percent market share.  Google's share over the same time has slipped from 67 percent to 66 percent, according to data provided by ComScore.

Instant Pages works by pre-loading the page associated with the top result.  This is done in the background while the user is deciding which result to click.  Of course, if the user selects a search result other than the top choice, the service does nothing.  Google is relying heavily on its relevance technology to confidently predict which result a user will select, so that when the user selects the top option, the target web page is already loaded and opens instantly.

A web page typically takes between two and five seconds to load after a user clicks a link.  “We at Google will not be happy until we make the Web as easy to flip through as a magazine,” said Google official Amit Singhal at the Inside Search trade conference in San Francisco.  “We are obsessed with speed. We often say speed is still the killer app,” he added.  During a demo at the event, the home page for the Washington Post loaded instantly with the new technology in place and took 3.2 seconds without it.

Over the next few weeks Google Instant will gradually be made available to users of Google's Chrome web browser.  Google will also make the source code available so that other browsers can incorporate the feature.

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