Google instant preview. Convenient or revolutionary?

Google Instant Preview is a new way to interact with Google search results.

About Google Instant

Using Firefox or Google Chrome, just click on the magifying glass in the search results to activate it and you instantly get a preview of the web page in a pop up.

Why? It provides a fast visual comparison to help searchers decide which web pages to visit. It even identifies relevant content by highlighting your search term via text call-out boxes. In short it makes finding exactly the right stuff slightly easier.

It seems a simple idea at first pass. But fly over it a second time and you realise it’s fundamental. For the first time ever, people are using thumbnail images of web pages – rather than just words – to make click-through decisions.

It’ll be interesting to see if it has an impact on visitor numbers. What if more people turn out to prefer the overall look of your competitor’s site, whereas before they’d come to you first because your meta description made a bigger impact?

The implications for site design, layout and content? It’s more important than ever to make sure your H1 headers and H2 subheads reflect the content of your page, so you catch searchers’ and Google’s eye via Instant Preview. And we might see great design hitting the big time at last.