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Dear Google: Please Stop Finishing My Sentences For Me

Topics: Technology | 1 CommentBy admin | September 8, 2010

I personally find Google Instant more annoying than useful. But I have 786,240,000 seconds to kill.

When a friend of mine’s two year old son doesn’t like something, he uses an expression which I find handy. He says “I can’t like it“. That’s my reaction to Google Instant. As googletastically amazing as I’m obliged to say that it is – for fear of being perceived as a Luddite – it mostly just gets on my nerves. There are a number of reasons I’ll probably keep the feature disabled, but primary amongst them is the fact that it mimics one of my few pet peeves, which is when people try to finish my sentences for me. My thinking is far too erratic most of the time for people to ever get it right. I mean, it wouldn’t bother me if they did get it right, but they almost never do. And since Google’s results have become so blogjammed anyway, I feel like I’m just getting often mediocre results faster. Which I don’t find all that gratifying. One of Google’s biggest sell points is that since they’ve determined that it saves you 2-5 seconds per search, they can make the cute claim that “If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second“. Personally, I have the time to waste. If I live to the age of 75, I have about 786,240,000 seconds left. And if I did 50 searches a day for the rest of my life, that would only be about 456,250 searches, which – with the cantankerously slow “old school” method, clocking in at around 9 seconds per search – would only take me about 4 million seconds. I’ll wait. For the record, I have other objections that have to do with tools that control us rather than the other way around. A few of them are summarized nicely in this piece, which points out not only how much control the feature gives Google over word usage, but how the new feature affects how ads are displayed. I think Google Instant is more about creating Buzz than a good user experience. What about you? By the way. Thanks for not interrupting.

Google’s introductory video ends with the slightly disturbing remark “You can think less about how you search, and more about what you find

Sure. Google that for me, Google. Just spare me the commentary.

Apparently this conversational frustration plagued Yahoo Instant Search back in 2005:

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  1. Posted by Losing Touch With User Expectations at dissociatedpress.com on 10.11.10 11:06 pm

    [...] Autocomplete result instead of just typing what they’re looking for. I’ve already shared my thoughts on Google Instant, and the more I’m exposed to it, the more strongly I feel that Google [...]