Nightly News | September 08, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Because the folks at Google thought nine seconds or thereabouts was often too long to wait for a search result to come up on your computer screen, with much fanfare today as a celebration of their billionth user, they rolled out something called Google Instant . The upside of the new product is it's a fast search. The downside is some people may find it annoying because it tries to guess what you're looking for by staying one step ahead of you and by trying to assume you know what you want. For example, I made up and typed in the query "the weather in Spanish Harlem ," and with each new letter I typed it pointed me to Target , Ticketmaster , thesaurus, Spain , Pokeman , hats, the best hams in Spain , home insulation and hydrogen cars, and several others before I got my answer, which, by the way, today was clear, high of 88, low of 60 degrees. But again, it is faster. If you use Google say five times a day, you'll save about two hours over the course of a year. That's several days tacked on to the end of your life. While this was being developed, our own George Lewis was given a rare look inside Google where they make all this happen. Tonight he reports on the making of the next new thing.
GEORGE LEWIS reporting: Leading up to today's announcement, Google , normally a pretty secretive place, gave us unprecedented access to what they call their war rooms. Meetings where people stand, passionately debating the overhaul.
Unidentified Woman #1: Fast, easy.
LEWIS: Speaking quickly, they keep a stopwatch running.
Unidentified Woman #2: That was 12.35.
Unidentified Man #1: All right.
LEWIS: And what is it they're working on exactly? Google Instant , speeding up search.
Mr. BEN GOMES (Google Engineer): You can add a word and you see results update immediately. You can remove a word, you can see the results update immediately.
LEWIS: And for those who find it annoying, the engineers keep tweaking the process.
Unidentified Woman #3: This is the eye tracking monitor that I'm going to...
LEWIS: In a place resembling a police interrogation room with people watching through two-way mirrors, Google 's expert showed me how they track the eye movements of test subjects to speed up the interaction. So how much faster is it?
Unidentified Man #2: Twenty percent faster, which is just insanely fast.
LEWIS: This is a small sample of the over one billion search requests Google says it gets daily. By shaving two to five seconds off of each request, that's a savings of between 63 and 153 years every day. But as Google speeds up, its search business is slowing in growth. Fortune magazine recently asked, "Is Google over?" As the company competes with Facebook and Microsoft Bing for ad dollars.
Mr. BARRY SCHWARTZ (Search Engine Land Blogger): Google 's constantly evolving. I don't think this is really for Google to play catchup to Bing or anybody else.
LEWIS: Evolving to meet a global need for speed. George Lewis , NBC News, Mountain View, California.