Google Unveils Instant Preview Feature for Android, iOS Devices

By Beecher Tuttle March 09, 2011

Google added to its mobile Web search capabilities on Tuesday by launching its highly-popular Instant Preview feature for Android and iOS devices.

An Instant Preview enables users to obtain a quick graphic overview of a website by simply hovering their mouse over a small magnifying glass icon that is positioned to the right of a given search result.

The feature, which was introduced for laptops and desktops in November of last year, is designed to eliminate the frustrating and time-consuming process of having to enter multiple websites before finding what you are looking for. Instant Preview also allows you to scope out a potentially malicious link prior to actually clicking on it.

As of Tuesday, the Instant Previews feature is available on mobile devices that are running Android 2.2 and higher as well as iOS 4.0 and higher. The functionality of the service is similar to that of the desktop version. All you need to do is click on the magnifying glass next to a search result to obtain a picture preview of the site.

However, the mobile version of Instant Previews will also allow you to browse through multiple overviews at the same time using a horizontal scroll bar, meaning you won't have to click on more than one magnifying glass to get a broad preview of an entire page of results. When you find what you like, simply click on the preview picture.

"Perhaps you're looking for an article, a step-by-step instructions list, or a product comparison chart -- with Instant Previews, you can easily spot pages with the right content without having to navigate back and forth between Websites and search results," Brian Ngo, a software engineer with Google's mobile search team, wrote in a recent blog post.

For a visual example of how the mobile technology works, check the YouTube video below.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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