by Graham Pierrepoint
In a week where we witnessed the death knell for the likes of software such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Paint (which, admittedly, has received a reprieve after public outcry), it seems that another feature that many of us may have grown accustomed to will be dropped in the near future. Google Instant – brought in seven years ago – is reportedly being retired due to its lack of relevance in current browsing and searching trends. After some time of rumors reverberating, a spokesperson advised press that the feature would be phased out in due course. When exactly this is to come to pass, it is not yet clear.
The search engine brought about the Instant feature by way of attempting to predict what searches were looking for – in a sense, predictive autocomplete – in an effort to try and streamline searching behavior, or to make using Google more convenient. However, as browsing and searching habits have changed, it appears that the firm is now keen to retire the function and to flatten out a similar experience across multiple device types. What sounded the death knell for Google Instant? Mobile browsing.
While Google has made a number of changes to its algorithms over the years in an effort to keep up with the increasing volume of internet users migrating to smartphone and tablet browsing, Google Instant remained a facet of an earlier time which, in the midst of the mobile revolution, no longer seems relevant. Instant’s overlay essentially makes little sense for browsers and searchers using their screen to type – meaning that the function faced the digital boneyard as soon as mobile search claimed its majority share.
The summer of 2017 is shaping up to be a real graveyard for outdated tech – while functions and outdated software such as Google Instant and Adobe Flash are set to bite the dust with what may be general consensus from many users, it is telling that software as long-running – and perhaps even as basic – as Microsoft Paint generates the biggest outcry. For many people, MS Paint was a childhood staple – and in the case of the other two big software fellings this week, it was simply a case of technology marching forward. Will we see any more big software brands or titles drop off their mortal coil before the summer ends? Cling onto your default programs and browsing habits while you can!