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Google Instant sinks raft of search controls

Suggest forever on, results locked at 10

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In rolling out Google Instant – a new incarnation of its search engine that serves up results in "real-time" as you type – Mountain View has also made several peripheral changes to the way its engine traditionally operates.

Following the arrival of Google Instant, the Google Operating System blog – a third-party blog not affiliated with Google – compiled a list of such changes, and Google has confirmed most of them with The Reg.

"Google Instant is a significant improvement to search and required a number of minor changes on the homepage and results page," a company spokesman tells us. "Overall, we think people will really enjoy the new experience."

Most notably, with Google Instant, you can no longer change the number of results that appear on a page. The number of results is always set to ten. No doubt, this is an effort to maintain the speed of the new service – and keep it from overloading the Google's back-end. At least one Reg reader assumed this was a bug, but it's a feature. If you turn off Google Instant, however, you can once again customize the number of results per page.

Second, you can no longer disable Google Suggest – the tool that suggests other searches based on what you type. Google Instant dovetails with Google Suggest, but even if you turn off Instant, you can't turn off Suggest.

Google Instant with Suggest

Incidentally, Google has also capped the number of Google Suggest suggestions at five. In the past, you may have seen more. The Google Operating System blog also said that Suggest was no longer proposing results based on your search history, and though this is currently true, Google says it will soon be changed.

Google has also killed its "fade-in" homepage – which was rolled out just months ago. The page would hide most of its hyperlinks until you actually moved your mouse, but for reasons unknown, Google has returned to a setup where the links appear immediately.

What's more, when serving result pages, Google has removed the search box that used to appear at the bottom of the page. To change a query, you have to scroll back to the top of the page.

The Google Operating System blog also claimed that Google had done away with its Wonder Wheel search visualization tool. But this is not the case. ®

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