Google made several big search announcements today, including Voice Search for the desktop and Search by Image for the desktop (like Google Goggles on mobile). They also announced a couple new "instant' features.
For one, at its Inside Search event, the company showed off Google Instant for image search, which will be available in the next couple months to all domains and languages where Google Instant is already available.
They also announced something called Instant Pages, which speeds up how quickly you can access your search result (provided that the top ranked result is the right one for you). This is a Chrome-only feature. Google explains:
Whether you’re typing, speaking, or using an image, entering your search is only part of the process. You’re not really done searching until you have the answer you’re looking for. But waiting for webpages to load adds time to this process - the average webpage takes about five seconds to load.
With Instant Pages in Chrome, you can skip the extra seconds waiting for a page to load and get to the answers you’re looking for faster with webpages that load instantly.
For searches when we can predict with reasonable confidence that you’ll click on the first result, Instant Pages technology will begin loading that webpage early so that by the time you click on the result, the entire webpage appears fully loaded instantly.
The above video demonstrates the feature in a side-by-side comparison with a normal Google search.
Google has maintained for a while now that speed is a ranking factor in its algorithm. Now, Google is helping the page load process along itself, to some extent.
The feature takes advantage of a prerendering technology, which is being baked into Chrome.
The technology is currently in the Chrome Dev Channel, and will be rolling out in Chrome beta this week, with stable and mobile releases coming in the coming weeks.
As most of Google's new features are Chrome-based, it's worth noting that the Google Chromebooks come out tomorrow.