Yesterday Google unveiled Instant Search, a redesigned Google homepage which searches with every letter you query. Which will be useful especially on keyboard-less devices (( It’s also going to be useful for ad impressions, as Google will now get up to 5 ad impressions if you search for “kanye” whereas you’d previously get only one )).
Google Instant is not so much a conspiracy on a future Google tablet device (as this’ll no doubt work on the iPad as well), as much as it is the latest marker on a long road to a keyboard-less future, a road which has so far included:
- Google Googles, the Android app which uses photos to search
- Voice Search, which tries (but usually fails) to scan your voice and convert it to text
- Chrome To Phone, the Chrome extension which sends the current page, map or YouTube video to your Android device
- QR codes, which Android users used the “barcode scanner” application to scan to get Android Market links
In my anecdotal studies, QR codes are largely ridiculed although for a number of things I find them quite useful. Typing on a device does indeed suck, and the solution is not improving keyboards. In the long run, it’s making keyboards obsolete; in the near run, it’s making sure we need them as little as possible.