Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Google instant : Change the way you search

The google instant was an instant hit. The proof was instantisation of google maps, youtube,bing so on and so forth. So now we have moved from instant coffee and  instant chats to instant search. Googling has easily become one of the things a internet buff does on a regular basis. Whether you are looking out for a location in a google map, searching for a nice hotel on burp.com or searching for an instant video on youtube what you are doing basically is search. So making google(read as search) instant definitely goes a long way in saving a lot of time.

But what baffles me is with bigwigs like google, microsoft and yahoo fighting for monopoly over search(as it is the gateway to the world of lucrative business namely internet), what took them so long to instantise search. The only reason that comes to my mind is lack of resources. In place of one hit/query on the server, the current instant google will hit the server more than 5 times for an average query. So that's like saying that the google servers must be five times bigger in capacity or five times efficient in handling the search queries. That might seem to be  asking for too much but still that seems to me like a lame excuse these bigwigs can give.

The unusual spin off of google instant is that Japanese addresses are showing more quickly on google instant maps than its counter-part western addresses. Let's find out the reasons but first lets understand the japanese addressing systems. Japanese addresses reflect the primacy of the group in Japan. They proceed from the general (the prefecture, or Japan itself for mail to Japan) to the particular (the addressee). So the general address looks like this

107 Tokyo-to, Minato-ku,
Akasaka 1-chome, 
10-ban, 5-go, 
Watanabe Kazuo

It starts from the generic address Tokyo and moves to the specific addressee name Watanabe Kazuo in the order. Japanese got lucky as their addresses work the same way as google instant does.

Google instant is a Progressively Refining Search(A term i have come out with). Put in simple terms, with each keyword enter your search gets refined. So you can see your search getting refined with every typing letter. There are two ways you can build your search query now.

  1. Start with the most specific term and then move to the generic term.
  2. Start with the most generic term and then move to the specific term.
The first method is the traditional way we use to search. An ex : The famous hotels in bangalore,India
This is how our search queries used to be till now. Lets analise this under the current google instant search. The moment you type good google is confused as to what get for you as there are many things which are good. then when you say hotels it tries  get you hotels from all over the world, whereas hotel in bangalore was what you were looking for. :( 

The second method is the query suited to google instant. Since google instant is a Progressively Refining Search, starting with the most generic term and then moving to the specific term goes with the flow and you can see the search results getting better as you type. So now our search query will be India bangalore hotels famous. So when you type india google will fetch results only from india, and as you type bangalore the results will be refined for banglaore, and when you type hotels it gets you the list of hotels in banglaore. So as you keep typing your query the search keeps getting refined. ("Hotels, India bangalore good" may be a more efficient query)

So the next time you are googling my name remember the query has to be India,Karnataka,Bangalore,Mindtree Gokul

Caveat : There are exceptions to this rule. Comment on this post if you want to discuss. But remember that it still holds good if you are looking out for a geographical location.

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