Google Drops Instant Previews Over Low Usage

Apr 25, 2013 • 9:08 am | comments (77) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google Instant PreviewsGoogle has officially dropped the Instant Previews from the search results due to "very low usage" by searchers.

Instant Previews launched in November 2010 and was tested with AdWords Instant Previews and even Sitelinks Instant Previews - heck, Google even made a feature in Webmaster tools to preview instant previews.

Now, Google has dropped the feature.

Google's Jessica said they removed it to "very low usage" and said removing it will streamline searches. She explained in the Google Web Search Help forums:

As we've streamlined the results page, we've had to remove certain features, such as Instant Previews.

Instant previews saw very low usage by our users, and we've decided to focus on streamlining the page to benefit more users.

Like with any feature Google removes, it upsets users. So there are a bunch of people not happy.

With this change, Google has changed how you access the "cached" page and how you share results. There is now a down green arrow that contains the "cached" link and "similar" link, when applicable and if you are logged in, it will also show a "share" link to share the result on Google+.

Google Green Arrow Down

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Previous story: Google Will Send Notifications To WWW & Non-WWW Webmaster Tools Accounts



04/25/2013 01:27 pm



04/25/2013 01:44 pm

Google... how could you....

Harry Baklap

04/25/2013 01:53 pm

Wow the same interface as Bing uses :')


04/25/2013 02:13 pm

::patiently awaits all the people who complained about instant previews wrecking their visitor count to post in a story that doesn't give them an excuse to make ridiculous claims and accusations::


04/25/2013 02:25 pm

The only time I used previews was when I hit it by accident. No one cares how ugly the site is as long as it gives you the information you're looking for and despite what some designers and standards nuts will tell you, it has no impact on Google rankings. So why would users sit there and look at previews when they can just click through the serps and evaluate the site more thoroughly.

Michael Martinez

04/25/2013 02:58 pm

*sigh* I actually LIKED that feature.


04/25/2013 03:13 pm

As long they keep the "cached version" everything is fine.


04/25/2013 03:34 pm

"Very low usage"??? What?? I used it all the time! I used it just yesterday, and now it's gone! When companies grow big, they care only about what the masses like. You can stop counting on Google to come out with cool, quirky tools like Google Sets anymore.


04/25/2013 04:08 pm

That feature was awesome, I used it all the time!! But I understand that a feature used by a minority involves maintaining code and resources.


04/25/2013 06:35 pm

::crickets:: If this was an article talking about how Google was going to make the preview more easily seen this comment section would be aflame with accusation of malice. Keep being predictable San Diego.


04/25/2013 07:46 pm

It was EXTREMELY useful!!! Along with the explicit "Cached" link! Both features saved the user few extra clicks as well as significant time: several seconds quicker than opening and closing a useless result page. Additionally, these features decreased stress on users' hands! :(You'll hear me, my young Google folks, in a few years, when YOUR hands will hurt :(. They could, at least, make it optional and not default. Sure, the real reason is money from Ads.


04/25/2013 10:46 pm

It's interesting to see how social stuff works )) Preview was removed at least(!) 24 hours ago. Means this news was quite outdated already when Barry published it here. However it got 71 G+ Means either visitors of this blog don't use Google on regular basis to notice changes or they click G+ no matter what. Obviously the second reason is more adequate. This is how social signals work in real life. Remember, that Google tries to use them in the algo instead of compromised links. Links are dead, but reliable Social stuff isn't born yet. And I doubt it will be born.

Rob Woods

04/25/2013 11:20 pm

what is the big deal? As SEOs all we really need is the cached link. And come to think of it I just use the SEOBook tool bar to access that. Just means I click in a diff place occasionally when looking for the cache when I'm in the SERPs. Good to know though, I noticed the new drop down today but was too busy to really examine it.

Melanie Trudeau

04/25/2013 11:37 pm

Puts into question the reliability/sincerity of social sharing when they're asking users to share from a SERP. Not to mention that 95% of the population probably has no idea what a cached version really is.

Faisal Kaleem

04/26/2013 12:34 am

That is not good for me i like this feature. And what is next which will update :)


04/26/2013 04:36 am

Well that's not a big update for us(SEOs). That was a big feature and I always used it while searching for anything, but that's all depends on Google how they want search results to look like.... :)

Soni Sharma

04/26/2013 04:38 am

CTR will be affected if users might used it a lot. preview feature was not user interactive most of the users didn't know about this.


04/26/2013 05:02 am

number of discontinued features and services is now close to number of existing services. I wonder what's next...

Alan Smith

04/26/2013 05:16 am

is it a smart move from Google?


04/26/2013 05:32 am

they took lot of time to launch a new feature and they gonna take only few time to drop those feature. Its all in google hands


04/26/2013 05:34 am

Will they drop their search engine service as well as?? If users using them low...

Thomas Gareis

04/26/2013 11:32 am

Instant previews consumes way to much data center ressources for its benefits, and half of the time the previews don't look good due to not rendering javascript..

Martin Oxby

04/26/2013 11:51 am

Amazing how quickly react in anger against a service most people don't pay to use. If it didn't have 'very low usage' they would keep it up. Just confirmed what we thought when instant previews was first introduced, in that it wouldn't drastically affect CTR. Guess Google have to keep trying things but at least they have it in them to accept when a product has low take-up.


04/26/2013 01:31 pm

Please, please reinstate 'Instant Preview' . . . can't live without it!!!!!


04/26/2013 02:18 pm

Is ANY move from Google smart?


04/26/2013 02:43 pm

Well, if the usage is very low and the feature takes up time, labor, and additional spend...then I would say it was a smart move.


04/26/2013 03:43 pm

Well you do realize that Google does not care about the customers, right? They only care about making money. And if some new feature is cutting into profits or using resources, Google will not factor in whatsoever whether or not anyone will like it or not. Google will only factor in whether or not it is more beneficial for Google, and Google only. "Fuck the users, who cares, they can't do anything about it!" - a quote from a Google employee.


04/26/2013 03:43 pm

Depends on what you mean by "smart".


04/26/2013 03:43 pm

I never used it anyways and personally I found it annoying.


04/26/2013 03:45 pm

It's people like you that need to be beat by your parents more. EDIT.. Punished not beat ;) Abuse is bad, punishment is good :)


04/26/2013 03:45 pm

You are retarded.


04/26/2013 03:45 pm

gmail is next... (jk)

Martin Oxby

04/26/2013 03:54 pm

What on earth did I say to deserve that... and being beaten by my parents when I'm married and nearly 30 is a bit overkill!


04/26/2013 04:23 pm

Your attitude on how resources are allocated and why is amazingly ignorant. I am not saying this to be mean, I am saying this so you can avoid coming across like this in thr future. PS: If something is free, you are not the customer. Google has customers, and they aren't you; you are part of the product. I manage a large PPC account and the Google users/their search data are the product I am buying access to.


04/26/2013 04:26 pm

I now read this after replying to your comment above. Ugh, I hope nobody is giving you money for services related to online search.

Phùng Tuấn

04/26/2013 04:30 pm

It was a stupid idea to remove the most useful thing for SEARCHING. When you are searching, you need to evaluate the value of information, so you need a preview. Surely it was a question of money adds and click over link. While you can not preview, you have to click on the link to see what is inside. While they don't set it as option in Search option. And set it OFF by default for MASS USER. GOOGLE = MONEY


04/26/2013 10:15 pm

It seems like they deleted the response from the blog...


04/27/2013 07:45 am

polibte mi prdel, shits a


04/27/2013 04:49 pm

"you are part of the product" Perfect definition ) Straight to the point )

chaudhary amir

04/28/2013 07:08 pm

So long many people maintain the "cached version" every little thing can be fine.


04/28/2013 10:06 pm

I used this intant preview constantly to keep from having to click on every blasted page to see it. Obviously, it has to do with people not getting money for every click, so they force you to click on every link, which causes a massive waste of time and energy. It has nothing to do with low usage. Greedy bastards.


04/29/2013 07:08 am

This is totally absurd excuse...i use it all the time and it saves so much time, however they could make it optional rather removing it at all...the truth is that because many users use this feature, a lot of websites faced a lack in visitors and this is not good of course for Google interests with its customers...hehehe absurd Google


04/29/2013 11:03 am

Great point you are making here.Was exactly the same thing I was thinking.If it's not working, just like anything else in life cut it.. In any case when I did hover it, also by accident I did find it to be particularly taking up a lot of space and caused unnecessary clutter.


04/30/2013 04:06 am

I used this all the time. What a disappointment!

Thomas R. Koll

04/30/2013 12:23 pm

About time, one of the most annoying features Google ever added.

Jennifer Arden

04/30/2013 01:24 pm

Not true at all! This was a GREAT feature I used really often. Its a big disappointment that it isn't available anymore! The "cached" option now takes me away from the results page and changes into a "snapshot" which isnt nice at all. It is very useful to be able to see an instant preview of a webpage before opening it, it helps the searcher to identify if it is a page relating to his/her search. Bring instant preview back Google!


04/30/2013 03:01 pm

Use Chrome Extension "Search Preview"


04/30/2013 04:00 pm

I installed the extension but I'm still not seeing the preview. Is there something I need to do to "activate" the feature?


05/01/2013 06:03 am

Move cursor to a link and preview will appear, if not work then send me your url may be bug.


05/01/2013 11:26 am

just wanne say i'm also not happy with google latest "improvments" of search UI, first the side bar, now this, com'on...


05/01/2013 01:05 pm

Thanks for the extension, but it's bittersweet as it loads the entire site in that window, instead of loading just a quick, static snapshot of what the link holds. It bogs down searching speed a bit that way. Any chance of doing the "snapshot" method with your plugin?


05/01/2013 01:13 pm

I'll try speed up in next versions, but right now show snapshot impossible. Thanks.

Melinda Moonshadow

05/03/2013 12:54 am

I went to the Chrome Extension "Search Preview" and clicked on the blue box to add the feature. Another box popped up and said, if I add it "it can access MY data on ALL websites. WTF? Seriously? Does that mean if I go to my bank page that it can then "see ALL MY DATA?" That's what it said "access MY DATA on ALL websites." NTS, I didn't do it. Anyway, looks like Google could ask for our opinion on changes after we've done gotten use to something. They're interested in our opinions on Child Google Art! Why not ask us how we felt about the preview? Personally, I grew to like it, and now I'm pretty pissed that it's gone, but THEY obviously do not care about my opinion on this matter.


05/05/2013 01:15 am

Because of course you side with the major corporations instead of the people. I hate people like that!


05/05/2013 05:09 am

It can access your data on ALL websites because how else is it going to generate the previews for you? It's going to wait for search results, then browse to those pages and pre-render a preview for you and store it. This is different to what google used to do, which is do that step for you. Should you be careful what extensions you install? Absolutely. But should you make a big issue out of them when you don't actually understand WTF you're talking about? Probably not.


05/05/2013 05:11 am

You're right, we should all just hate blindly on any corporations because all corporations are evil. AMIRITE! Some people have issues. I hope you live in a country where you can get the help you require.

Jeremy Fremont

05/08/2013 07:20 pm

This really was an invaluable feature to use when attempting to find design inspiration within any specific industry quickly without having to load the entire site each time before doing a new website design build. Greatly disappointed that they removed this feature.

Jonathan Tait

05/10/2013 09:50 am

Booo hisss .... bring it back. It was a great SEO tool!


05/11/2013 09:17 am

release ver. 0.1.58 speed up!


05/14/2013 05:38 am

It was such a great feature...allowed you to see the sight and therefore save time in searching something. Please consider bringing it back or allow the user to have the option for it


05/14/2013 02:38 pm

It's working -- thanx!


05/14/2013 02:46 pm

thank you!


05/17/2013 10:43 am

bring it back.


05/21/2013 09:13 pm

Low usage? Who were they talking to? Certainly not users. I used that feature quite alot. Bring it back!


05/22/2013 10:24 pm

nooooooooooooo bring it back please!!!!! it was great and saved a LOT of time when trying to find some particular piece of content in one page. Please at least give the option to activate this function.

Sadiq Jaffer

05/23/2013 10:45 am

It's sad. I used to use it all the time. It makes choosing the right results easier instead of checking or guessing the content of each result.


06/13/2013 06:11 am

"Instant Previews" was very useful - in some cases it gave access to documets not available "for free". Example: some PDF was avaliable for 15 euros from official distributor/publisher, "instant preview" gave the same document for free. That is why it is no longer availavle.


06/16/2013 03:22 am

Yep, and any person who does not hate evil corporations after researching it, it a FUCKING MORON.

Proud Norman

06/16/2013 09:36 am

Bring Back immediately

Proud Norman

06/16/2013 09:38 am

Bring it back immediately


06/21/2013 04:44 am

LOVED it!!! Total time saver. Please bring it back.


06/27/2013 02:12 am

I loved the way you could have a quick peek at the page, I COMPLETELY HATE the way it is now it is useless. I used the >> preview in every search every day. Bring it back!!!! I did the Bing challenge and this is what set Google above and apart, you ruined it!!!


06/28/2013 01:54 pm

"very low usage" They must be kidding!!


06/29/2013 02:54 am

No more instant previews? Well, I am voting with my feet. Good-bye Google! Bring on Bing!


07/09/2013 09:32 pm

Happy to see it go. I had an extension added to remove it anyway. Just happened to be surfing the web without that extension and noticed it was actually gone, you make a lot of silly moves Google, but this was not one of them. Just because all you se e is bitching here does not mean everyone used this feature, it means you were one of the few who did. Anecdotal evidence is not really evidence.

noname 192

09/11/2013 09:18 am

I wonder if it was affecting the revenue on AdSense network advertisers?

Shaun Murphy

02/14/2014 02:56 pm

And yours isn't?

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