The doodle's animated elements showed off color changes and movement that reacted to movement of the cursor, and with Wednesday's announcement at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, we are seeing just how constant this change really is.
Speaking to a theater full of press, swooping visuals and ambient sounds, Marissa Mayer showed us the next big thing in search. We have real time, we have relevant results, and now, we have predictive queries.
It's "as you type, not after you type," said Mayer. Google knows what you want before you want it, all part of an intuitive search that cuts down on time and typing, a smarter search that Sergey Brin called a step toward making Google the "third half of your brain."
Google VP of search Marissa Mayer on stage at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday. Mayer said Google makes almost constant changes to the Google UI, having released hundreds of new updates already in 2010.
The work Google does in delivering results to a query is very quick, around 400 milliseconds of networking time to send the query and result, Mayer said, but the overall search experience is much longer.
The average search contains 20 characters, and it typically takes about nine seconds to enter that query with the keyboard, in addition to the time needed for the user to select a result.
In the theater at the SFMOMA prior to the start of Wednesday's press conference unveiling Google Instant. Flowing soundscapes and streaking bands of light hinted at something from the future, maybe 2010: A Search Odyssey?
Mayer said that Google Instant search suggestions will help users save two to five seconds per query, or 11 hours for every passing second worldwide.
Looking for information on this summer's popular book "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"? By simply entering "the girl" you will get results returned suggesting the book "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." There's no need to continue typing the entire title.
In a sneak preview of things to come, Google showed off the beta version of Google Instant running on a mobile phone. In a demo in the lobby after the presentation, I was able to see how the mobile experience of Google Instant might be even more useful, in an environment where typing is slower and more complicated.
They are demonstrating it on the Droid 2, but it was just a browser-based feature, so this may work for everyone, or at least those with Webkit browsers.
The new changes incorporated into Google Instant will also remember what you've searched for. If you've search for dogs many times in the past, entering "king charles" into the query will generate results for that breed of dog, not any former kings of England.
Some of the team that worked on Google Instant on stage for a question and answer session Wednesday, from left to right, (unknown), Othar Hansson, Marissa Mayer, Ben Gomes, Johanna Wright, Sergey Brin, and Udi Manber.