Services & Software

Google bringing Search As You Type to commerce sites

Coming soon to a retail site near you: no more pressing Enter to kick off a search.

If you see your search results as you type, you're more likely to buy stuff, says Google.
Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

The era of typing in a search query and waiting for results is coming to an end. Google Instant, launched in September of 2010, made it unnecessary for users to finish typing a query before seeing the answer on a search results page. Now Google is making this tech available as a standalone feature for some of its advertisers, with a pilot project, Search As You Type for retail advertisers. Clients can now get this service without the rest of the Google Commerce Search suite.

The service works with a site's existing search function and gives visitors answers, including images, in a drop-down results window as they begin entering a search query.

Google says the service will improve conversion (sales) on sites that use it. It's cloud-based and requires no on-premises equipment. For the moment, Google is making it free for its retail AdWords customers, giving each up to 25 million queries per year.

Check out the retail sites Lowe's and Hasbro to see it in action.

This story has been corrected from the original, to reflect that what's new about this service is that it's available as a standalone service.