Google is to rollout a feature in the next week available by default on the Google.com homepage. The feature is aimed to help users execute faster and more specific searches called “Google Suggest”, that automatically recommends options for the rest of your search term as you type based on the most popular searches.
The Google Suggest feature originally started as a 20% project in 2004, and has since expanded to Google Labs, Toolbar, Firefox search box, Maps and Web Search for select countries, the iPhone and BlackBerry, YouTube, and now Google.com.
Google Suggest is an innovative feature that auto-completes a query using a dynamic list of popular queries. “As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you’re typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google’s Did you mean? feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type bass, Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include bass fishing or bass guitar. Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like prog, Google Suggest might offer you refinements like programming, programming languages, progesterone, or progressive. You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list with the arrow keys or mouse.”
Google Blog suggests three reasons why auto-complete can be useful: it helps you formulate queries, the feature shows alternative spellings for your query and it saves keystrokes. Despite the advantages, some users will find it annoying because it disables the auto-complete feature from their browsers and it might interfere with their typing. To permanently disable Google Suggest, you’ll find an option at the bottom of the preferences page.