Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a search result and highlights the most relevant sections, making finding the right page as quick and easy as flipping through a magazine. To use it, click once on the magnifying glass next to the title of any search result and a visual overview of the page will appear on the right. From there, hover your cursor over any other result to see a preview. For those of you who’ve recently stopped using your mouse to search, now you can navigate to a result, hit the right arrow key to see the preview, and hit the down arrow key to keep browsing. Here’s a video showing Instant Previews in action:
In our testing, we’ve found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click. The previews provide new ways to evaluate search results, making you more likely to find what you’re looking for on the pages you visit. Here are some of the things you can do to get the most out of Instant Previews:
- Quickly compare results - A visual comparison of search results helps you pick the one that’s right for you. Quickly flip through previews to see which page looks best.
- Pinpoint relevant content - Text call outs, in orange, will sometimes highlight where your search terms appear on the webpage so you can evaluate if it’s what you're looking for.
- Interact with the results page - Page previews let you see the layout of a webpage before clicking the search result. Looking for a chart, picture, map or list? See if you can spot one in the preview.
We realized early on that this kind of experience would only make sense if it was lightning fast. Not long ago simply downloading an image could take 20 or 30 seconds, and even today many websites take four or five seconds to load. With Instant Previews, we match your query with an index of the entire web, identify the relevant parts of each webpage, stitch them together and serve the resulting preview completely customized to your search—usually in under one-tenth of a second. Once you click the magnifying glass, we load previews for the other results in the background so you can flip through them without waiting.
Well, I think that’s enough of a preview—soon you can try out the real thing for yourself! The new feature is rolling out now and should be available in more than 40 languages in the next few days.
Posted by Raj Krishnan, Product Manager