If you've been visiting Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) over the last couple of days (and let's be honest -- who hasn't?), you've encountered logos that react to your every move. The famous logo first became a scattered bunch of mouse-phobic balls, and then the letters filled in with color as you started typing a query. Mix in a couple of indiscreet tweets from official Google accounts, and it was obvious that the company was ready to unveil something big.

One hectic YouTube-hosted presentation later, we know exactly what it is: Google now tries to read your mind. Only about one second out of every search query is spent on running the query itself and shuttling network traffic back and forth. Since the whole process takes about 25 seconds on average, from the moment you begin typing a few words into the search box until you finally click on a link, that leaves a lot of optimizing to do when it comes to entering text and selecting a search result.

What's new?
Go back to Google now and run a search, and you'll see results flashing before your eyes, before you've really told Google what you want to see. The technology is based on the autocomplete feature, which now attempts to find a full query matching your input letter by letter. It's not easy to describe this action, but something tells me I won't have to for much longer -- this is now the default way to run searches on Google.com, will soon extend to obvious platforms like mobile browsers and the search boxes in products like Google Chrome. It'll undoubtedly be copied by every search engine known to humanity before you can search for "antidisestablishmentarianism."

In the eternal battle for search supremacy, giants like Google, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI), and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) rarely get to enjoy the first-mover benefit for very long. You can't patent ideas, and there are many ways to skin these cats from a technical standpoint. But it takes a lot of clever process optimization to get this kind of instant search to work without "melting our data centers," in Google's own words. Something tells me that it'll be a while before Bing and Ask.com start to copy this idea.

What's the point?
This is great for users, since searching just became a little bit easier and more intuitive -- but what's in it for Google? First up, you will now be exposed to more ads than before as you flick your keystrokes at Google. For a company with $23.7 billion in mostly ad-click revenue last year, it doesn't take a big percentage increase to make serious cash from extra exposure.

That folds in neatly with the first of Google's 10 overarching design philosophies: Focus on the user and all else will follow. Treat the user right, and there's no reason to use Bing or Ask or Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) or anything else -- Google aims to provide the perfect search experience for every user.

It's a hard problem, and no company -- including Google -- is anywhere near perfect yet. But Google is doing its best to build that mythical beast. In the question-and-answer session following the presentation of this new feature, Google co-founder Sergey Brin noted that the online experience will change dramatically over the next few years, thanks to innovations from Google, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), and others. He's okay with not inventing every improved user experience -- but every baby step taken in that direction is a good move.

This is why Google keeps throwing bowls of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks and what just makes a mess. If users turn out to hate Google Instant, as the as-you-type search feature is known, it's easy enough to cut it out and try again. But if it's a hit, which seems very likely, the other guys now have a lot of work to do just to catch up -- or else look quaintly obsolete.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers choices. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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