Google Instant Beta On Android

Google has begun rolling out their Instant Search feature to Android phones, and as you can see in the screenshot on the left, I found it available on my Nexus One this evening. Instant Search is an enhancement to Google Search that begins showing search results as you type. For example, when I go to google.com to do a search for “pumpkin carving stencils” and type the letter p I see pandora, pnc bank, paypal, and picnik displayed in a drop down list. If one of those items match what I am looking for I can simply click it to select it as my search term.

When instant search is turned on for the google.com site in the Android web browser, instant search functions the same way as on a desktop computer. You will see more of a lag in the appearance of search results depending on the speed of your phone’s network. Curiously, when I type the letter p to begin the search on my Nexus One I see pandora, paypay, and pizza hut, which suggests to me that Google may be doing some optimization of the search results if you are using a mobile browser.

I’ve only tested Instant Search using a WiFi connection at home, so I don’t know how fast it performs on a 3G connection. During my testing I have seen odd behavior when typing with the SwiftKey keyboard. When I tap clear to start a new search and start typing SwiftKey is doing an instant recognition and entering a word into the browser rather than just showing the word it thinks you are typing. If I use the backspace button to clear the contents of the field I do not see the behavior, but appears that there is a bit of a compatibility problem between SwiftKey and Instant Search.