Mink Machine

Google Suggest is only the beginning

I’m really starting to get addicted to the new Google Suggest function, another gem added to their ever-increasing bag of tricks. This nifty thing provides auto complete in your web search.

It’s actually quite straightforward stuff. A condensed JavaScript disables the browser’s auto complete in the search field and defines a hidden div field. The div body is populated at each character while you type. It’s really too fast to be doing a full Google search and postback, so I guess they keep an in-memory list of the most popular searches while using XMLHttpRequest to run queries.

It’s fast, it’s cool and it’s Google. This will not be the last time we see this technique.

Oh, and this Desktop Search thingie from Microsoft, included in the MSN Toolbar Suite. I say it’s just another desperate act to catch up on the innovative minds at Google and their own Desktop Search technology. I would much rather have Microsoft fix that so called search function in XP instead of adding another product doing what the built-in should have done in the first place. And yes, the built-in does support indexing as well, as long as you’re able to find out how to enable it. Hopefully it will be fixed in the release of Longhorn using WinFS, the fifth horseman of the apocalypse.

Update: The technique was named Ajax by Jesse James Garrett in February 2005.

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