Google Instant Previews Is Live – Now Search Visually

I first noticed the Google search listing previews on SERP listings a few days ago and it appears Google has rolled out the new feature to all users as of today. Google is calling the feature Instant Previews, although I would call it stealing a page from Bing’s search playbook.

Regardless, the technology behind the feature is pretty amazing when you consider the previews are being pulled in less than 1/10th of a second and continue to be dynamically updated as you type.

Google Instant Preview is Live!

Google Instant Preview is Live!

What I did find pretty interesting was the way Google is helping to identify the relevancy of the search result to the typed query. If you are searching for a specific phrase, Google will highlight it in these page previews (see below):


Instant Preview Identifies Search Phrases in the Preview

If you would rather not include a snippet, you can simply add the “nosnippet” meta tag to your website. There is a word of caution, however, from the Google Webmaster Team:

Currently, adding the nosnippet meta tag to your pages will cause them to not show a text snippet in our results. Since Instant Previews serves a similar purpose to snippets, pages with the nosnippet tag will also not show previews. However, we encourage you to think carefully about opting out of Instant Previews. Just like regular snippets, previews tend to be helpful to users—in our studies, results which were previewed were more than four times as likely to be clicked on. URLs that have been disallowed in the robots.txt file will also not show Instant Previews.

It also sounds like there is an ongoing bug with Flash content and videos.

What are your thoughts on the new features – like them? hate them? Do you find this new feature helpful? Join the conversation in the comments!


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  1. […] I personally haven’t noticed this yet, but apparently there are some reports out there that say Google Instant Previews are skewing analytics data. In some cases Google Instant does a real-time fetch of the page to […]

  2. […] you have probably already noticed, Google Instant Preview was recently launched and is currently showing visual previews to the right of search results listings. This appears as a […]

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