View search results even faster with Google Instant Previews

Yesterday, Google announced a new feature called Instant Previews. In this mode, clicking a magnifying glass icon next to each result to your query renders a thumbnail view of the page, to help you decide whether to click the link and explore it further.

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According to Google’s research, this feature helps searchers find what they’re looking for 5 percent more often. They also note that generating this preview is generally much faster than loading an actual web page. Google’s blog post suggests a couple of good uses for this function, such as distinguishing an official website from other results or for finding step-by-step how-to guides. Both of these types of content tend to have distinctive looks that will be made apparent through the preview. I can think of a lot of times when I’ve tried to find something I looked at in the past, and remembered the content more for the site’s interface than I did its information. For situations like that Instant Previews could be very useful.

Give Google Instant Previews a try and see what you think.

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.