Google adding predictive results to commerce sites

Gone are the days of typing in the entire product name when searching for that new Transformer toy your nephew wants so badly. Google Commerce is introducing a pilot "search as you type" programme for AdWords advertisers in the US.

Going forward, AdWords partners that have Google search incorporated into their websites will be able to take advantage of Google's popular predictive typing suggestions. As someone types, a drop-down menu will display product details and thumbnail photos "to enhance a merchant's existing website search functionality," Google said.

Once you've found the perfect item, just click on it, and you're ready to make a purchase.

Launch partners including Hasbro - who manufacture the iconic game Monopoly - have already implemented the pilot service into their sites. More online retailers will be added in the coming months, Google said, though no indication of a UK trial has been mentioned to date. Merchants interested in participating can fill out an online form.

"The Search As You Type pilot is one of the many steps we're taking to provide technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem," Google wrote.

Predictive search results, dubbed Google Instant, first rolled out across Google's main search engine in September 2010. As the user types, search results pop up instantly below and change as the typing continues. Ideally, this helps users get to their search destination faster.

"It's not a search as you type, it's a search before you type," Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, said last autumn.