Google Instant Search: why I hate it and why it may be unethical

by Steve Seager on December 1, 2010 . Views: 626

Google Instant Rant - Why I hate it

This is a rant.

The new (and evil) Google Instant predicts your search and shows results before you finish typing. It also gives you instant results…as you type…before you have finished typing your sentence.

Google claims it will reduce the time spent on search by two to five seconds a request. Saving users around 350 million hours a year.

What complete nonsense. (That’s the censored version.) I don’t want to save two seconds when I search, I want Google to listen to what I am looking for and then offer me relevant results via SEO!

What I don’t want is for Google to support online advertisers and those with money in mass communications to boost their visibility over what I am actually looking for.

Why I hate Google Instant

To paraphrase Charlie Brooker:

“Using Google Instant is like trying to order from a waiter who keeps finishing your sentences for you, while simultaneously ramming spoonfuls of what he thinks you want directly into your mouth, so you can’t enjoy your blancmange without being force fed a gobful of black pudding first.”

Ach!

Why I think Google Instant may be unethical

I believe that Google’s suggested results (based on this predictive gubbins) may be unethical because the predictive searches are drawn from the volume of searches online.

However, the volume of searches online is also driven by advertising, pr and mass communications through all channels (on and offline, inside social networks, on mobile, TV, print and so on). This means that…

Whoever has more money to create visibility gets talked about more. So actually, Google is helping deliver more results for advertisers that pay Google’s wages!

In short, If you have more money to spend – Google will help you by suggesting you as a result. If you don’t, sod you!

Doesn’t that make Google a paid recommendation engine rather than a search engine?

Ugh.

Thank God you can switch it off.

Rant over.

  • You’re not alone out there. I’ve covered it a number of my blog posts such as http://thebozzman.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/google-instant-vs-internet-explorer/ and it continues to irritate the hell out of me.

    Another worry for me as mentioned in the above post is the amount of network traffic it creates worldwide which is totally unecessary, making it effectively no better than spam.

    I hadn’t thought of the ethics debate, but to be honest the whole concept of SEO is that he who pays most gets found, regardless of suitability.

    With the exception of Instant, Google does a good job to deliver results, but a radical rethink is going to be needed soon to cope with the growing number of small businesses trying to find their place on the web.

    Even a small town has dozens of plumbers, but only 10 can ever be in those precious first page slots. Reckon that’s a matter for another post someday.

  • Steve Seager

    Thanks Bozzman 🙂

    Like your Instant post! 

    Wonder if (ever!) Google will go back to what they do best — focus on delivering the RIGHT results. How hard can it be to focus on one strategic objective? Augie Ray just wrote a great post on it. I’m with him too – so neither of us are alone 😉

    http://www.experiencetheblog.com/2011/11/death-of-google-work-of-speculative.html

  •  Hi Steve, I hate it soooooooo much.  I found a solution for it I think, try it out and le t  me know:

    http://www.xuzo.com/blog/2012/05/07/how-to-turn-off-google-instant-and-auto-complete-in-1-minute-that-works/

    You can see how much people hate it as without even trying I get like 10 enquiries a day 😉

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