Google announced this morning that it has moved beyond instant search results to instant previews. Now, if you head over to Google.com and type in your search phrase, not only will your results appear as you type, but if you mouse over the results, you'll see an "image-based snapshot" that the company is calling "a new kind of visual search result" - the Instant Preview.
We took a look at this feature early last month, on a tip from SEO consultant Patrick Altoft, when it was in testing, quipping "Google Tests Mind Reading, AKA Full Page Previews". Today, the feature is a reality.
Instant Previews save you on clicks by offering a full-page preview of the page hidden behind the link, making it easier to see what you're getting into. Mousing over a search result offers an image of the underlying page, with an orange box highlighting the sections where your search phrase is found.
As Google points out, the idea is simple, as are its uses. Looking for a map or a pie chart? Take a look at the Instant Preview and see if one's there. Want text, not images? Again, take a peek before clicking. So far, Google says that users of Instant Previews are "about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click".
For those of you on the webmaster end of things, Google has offered a guide detailing some best practices for making your site compatible with Instant Preview. It offers some simple tips and explains how things like the nosnippet meta tag will affect your Instant Preview.