My initial thoughts on using Google Instant are that we have another example of an engineer creating a solution in search of a problem.
I notice certain naysayers are already predicting the death of SEO, I won’t bother to link to the clumsy self-important bait but I will counter than SEO fundamentally hasn’t changed in years and it isn’t likely too because of Google Instant.
Search Engine Optimisation will still be required to help get sites to the top of the listing and having an Ajaxy interface doesn’t alter that. What will change though is the users’ behaviour. We can’t predict how, but it may well be that users become familiar with Google suggesting the best query and therefore less likely to enter unique searches that don’t have much in the way of corresponding advertising inventory.
And that is the core of this update to me. This isn’t a usability factor. Personally I find the updating as I type off-putting, I’m sure many others will too, but losing a small percentage of visitors to Bing or Blekko isn’t a problem for Google as it will monetise the searches from remaining users even more effectively.
Another interesting aspect is just what it will do to AdWords search volumes and prices for broad match; root phrases will likely skyrocket in volume if Google decide to report the partial view in the AdWords statistics. That’s bound to attract more end user advertising pushing up the price at auction.
Finally how many people even will notice this? I mainly use the address bar in Google Chome to search. I’m a seasoned searcher and tend to enter very specific long tail phrases to start with. If I’m not in Chrome then I’ll use the Firefox search box, again avoiding the main Google search page. When I do actually go to Google I get the iGoogle home page. I’ll only get the Instant effect on subsequent searches.