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Google Instant Preview teases websites, makes you 5 per cent happier

Google Instant Previews loads thumbnail images of the websites in your search results, making you 5 per cent more likely to find what you want.

Google has announced Instant Previews, a new feature that shows thumbnail images of the websites in your search results. Google reckons Instant Previews load in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it one tenth of a second, with the results making you five per cent more likely to find what you want.

A magnifying glass icon appears next to each of your search results. Click on it, and a visual overview appears alongside the result. That allows you to see the site and make a quick decision on whether it's what you want. Your search term is highlighted to give you an idea if this site can tell you what you need to know.

If it's not the site for you, hover your mouse over another result to see another preview, and keep previewing to compare results until you find what you need. The preview shows what kind of site it is, and helps you find pictures, lists or even find sites you've visited before but can't remember how you find them.

This video shows Instant Previews in action.

Google Instant begins listing search results before you've even stopped typing. It even works on your iPhone and Android phone.

Returning text results is one thing, but showing previews of a site is another. Previews work by matching your search query with Google's index of the entire Web, grabbing the relevant parts of each site, stitching them together and serving the resulting preview -- all in under one-tenth of a second. The previews for the rest of the results are pre-loaded in the background ready for you to hover or click.

We were recently delighted to discover keyboard shortcuts on Google results pages. Simply use your cursor keys to tab down from result to result and hit return to select. To see a preview, hit the right arrow key.

Google reckons previews make users 5 per cent more likely to be satisfied with the result they click. To try it out for yourself, do some Googling of your own as the feature rolls out in the next few days.