Google Instant – not so fast!

Published by dave at 3:41 PM under Internet | Daily Tips | Opinion | privacy | technology

You may have seen the news today announcing new technology from Google called “Instant search”.  The blog post from Google announcing the development can be found here.

I’m always curious to see what’s behind emerging trends, especially when it’s something being pushed by Google.  So is Google Instant the greatest breakthrough in search this decade or not?

Only time will answer that question, but my initial review of the technology leaves me unmoved and more than just a little suspicious.

Google Instant certainly results in a visually appealing search experience, but at what cost to your privacy?  If the devil is in the details, here is the devil you should be aware of if you are going to use Google Instant.  From Google’s own FAQ regarding instant search:

“Please note, users on domains other than can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account”

In other words, unless you are logged in to GMAIL, Google voice or other Google service, Instant Search will not work.  Of course if you are signed in, EVERYTHING you search for can be used to  uniquely identify the person behind the search query.  This should raise further privacy concerns from consumer watchdogs and I suspect it will in time.

For now I will take a wait and see attitude with regard to Google Instant, but I will also refrain from using it until more facts are known.

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Have you "Binged"?

Published by dave at 7:55 AM under computers | Opinion | Daily Tips | Internet

As a former Googler, I admit that I read and watched the announcements regarding the launch of Microsoft's latest search engine with somewhat of a yawn.  I mean let's be honest, Microsoft's track record in search hasn't exactly been stellar.  Redmond just can't seem to even make a dent in the search marketplace, so much so that Ballmer and company were willing to spend (at one point) upwards of $40 Billion to acquire Yahoo, mostly for it's search business. 

Enter Bing.  I'll admit, my expectations were pretty low.  As such it wouldn't be difficult to exceed them, but I think Microsoft actually HAS something this time.  The interface is slick, fast, and modern.   I dare say it kind of makes that plain Google landing page look sadly pathetic (Google's homepage was designed for the days when 56k dial-up was by and large the way most people accessed the Internet).  Usability on Bing for tasks such as searching for travel deals etc really illustrate how G has seemingly become content to rest on it's laurels while pursuing things that generate no revenue and leave people asking "what's the point" (did the world REALLY need another Internet Browser?).

I like Bing and apparently a lot of other people do as well.  It's not perfect but it's a great start.  Bing certainly has a long way to go to even pretend to challenge Google in the search advertising business, but Bing has not gone unnoticed at the Borg in spite of what CEO Eric Schmidt would like the world to believe.  Well placed insiders are saying Bing has apparently gotten the attention of Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin who is reportedly rattled enough by the new "decision engine" to personally head up and assign a team of top engineers to work on "urgent upgrades" to the Google search service.

In the end, I don't think anyone realistically expects Redmond to beat Google at their own game (at least not anytime soon) but I congratulate Microsoft for getting back to innovating, and I congratulate Google for taking the challenge seriously.  This is healthy competition and it can only make Internet search a better experience for all of us.

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