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Google announces Instant Pages

Lightning-fast search, in Chrome, if Google guesses right

Google Instant Pages
Google Instant Pages aims to make loading web pages almost instantaneous.

During its Inside Search media event, Google unveiled Instant Pages, a feature that aims to provide users with their search results faster.

Instant Pages works by utilising prerendering technology that's integrated into Chrome builds currently lurking in the Chrome Dev Channel, soon to make their way to Beta. According to software engineer Ziga Mahkovec, the technology is "intelligently triggered by web search when we're very confident about which result is the best answer for the user's search".

Google's video demo shows the White House website loading instantly with the new technology, but taking a number of seconds in an existing build of Chrome that doesn't prerender. Mahkovec states that such speed bumps lead to "direct increases in user happiness and engagement" and adds that Instant Pages will only be triggered in instances of high confidence, rather than during every search result. Slightly worryingly, though, Alex Komoroske admits in a Chromium Blog post: "Triggering prerendering for the wrong site could lead to the link the user did click on loading more slowly." 

Elsewhere at the event, Google also showcased Voice Search for desktop computers — which is currently US-only for Chrome 11 users, but will soon be "available to everyone" — and Search by Image, which enables you to drag and drop or upload an image to start a search. The browser then reveals details about the image, makes best guesses regarding what it's about, and also attempts to locate visually similar images. Search by Image was live in the UK at the time of writing.

More information about the new features can be found on the Google Blog.

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