Those clever devils at Google have done it again: Google Suggest is just like regular Google, but it auto-completes your search terms as you type, complete with an indication of how many hits the search will get.
This could lead to a whole new form of self-Googling: How many characters of your name do you have to type before you are the suggested search term? I have to type “ned bat”.
And as is usual with Google, it isn’t clear how they decide what to show. For example, after typing “ned bat”, the suggested list is:
|ned batchelder||59,900 results|
|ned bath and beyond||23,100 results|
|ned bath beyond||11,900 results|
|ned batchelder atari 2600||17 results|
|ned bates||94,300 results|
Why those suggestions, and why in that order? It isn’t alphabetical, and it isn’t by the number of search results. “ned batey” has no prediction of search results, but searching on it shows 660 results, which is more than the absurdly specific “ned batchelder atari 2600”, so why is the right-hand blank for “ned batey”?
Update: Simon Willison has a short piece about some of the browser technology that makes it work.