If you have used the Google search engine today, you might have noticed a new feature that they have recently rolled out, called Instant Previews. This new feature allows you to fully preview a web page from within the Google search results before visiting actually visiting the web page.
Screen capture courtesy Search Engine Watch.
Here is what Google has to say about Instant Previews:
Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a search result and highlights the most relevant sections, making finding the right page as quick and easy as flipping through a magazine. To use it, click once on the magnifying glass next to the title of any search result and a visual overview of the page will appear on the right. From there, hover your cursor over any other result to see a preview. For those of you who’ve recently stopped using your mouse to search, now you can navigate to a result, hit the right arrow key to see the preview, and hit the down arrow key to keep browsing.
Google also reports that from their testing they have found that “people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click”. Is five percent really a big enough number to warrant adding such a feature to the Google search results? I’m not so sure.
In fact, we have seen thumbnails before and they did not last that long. Personally, I am not really a fan of these instant previews, especially since the page that you’re going to get may or may not be the actual page that is loaded. Especially on websites that change their content frequently. And I am sure that someone is going to figure out a way to “beat the system” so to speak and cloak the content (show Google and the users one Instant Preview) and show other content to you when you actually visit the page.
I took a look at a search result for my a search for my own name and found that Google is showing the Instant Previews in the search results. See the video below for a sample.
I would also note that when you’re actually logged into Google you do not get the Instant Previews option. Maybe this is only being done temporarily, but Google is not showing Instant Previews for those of us who are actually logged into Google.