A is for Argos – Google Instant live in the UK

Google Instant UK alphabetGoogle’s latest innovation in search is now fully live in the UK, bringing with it the promise of whole seconds shaved off search times.

Google Instant shows results as you type, altering them the more letters you add to your search querry – the idea being that because you read quicker than you type this will lead to faster search results.

More importantly though it also throws a peculiar light on the British psyche when you look at what Google thinks are the top search results for each letter of the alphabet. So, in a feat of no small amount of pointlessness, I bring you the Google UK alphabet.

A is for Argos

B is for BBC

C is for Currys

D is for Debenhams

E is for Ebay

F is for Facebook

G is for Google Maps

H is for Hotmail

I is for ITV

J is for John Lewis

K is for KLM

L is for Lotto

M is for MSN

N is for Next

O is for O2

P is for Play

Q is for Quidco

R is for Rightmove

S is for Sky

T is for Tesco

U is for Utube

V is for Virgin

W is for Wikipedia

X is for X Factor

Y is for YouTube

Z is for Zara

It’s interesting that no people (celebrities are still people, right?) made the list – clearly we want to find shops, entertainment or our mobiles the quickest.

It’s also a slightly different alphabet from when Google Instant was first launched in September and only available in the UK to logged-in users of Google.com.

But though it’s now officially out of beta for google.co.uk – it’s difficult, even searching with Google Instant, to discover exactly when the change took place. Certainly Google began gearing up for it in mid-December, as this cache of www.google.co.uk/instant shows.

More on Google Instant

Google reckons its new way of searching will save 2-5 seconds per search.

“Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page,” the company says.

“This means that [with Google instant] you can scan a results page while you type.

“The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press ‘search’.”

Google Instant isn’t available yet on mobile, but will be soon according to the company.

Finally, do SEO types need to worry? Google says not, or rather it says Google Instant “does not impact the ranking of serach results”, though it’s hard to imagine it isn’t already having an effect on the way people search.

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