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How Google Tested Google Instant

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In a world of data-obsessed number-crunching engineers, Google's John Boyd is the people person.

Boyd is responsible for testing user-experience changes to Google Search, the company's most important product. While Google is famous for obsessing over statistical differences in user clicks between one shade of blue versus another, Boyd's team focuses on studying how real people interact with products under development inside Google through the company's usability lab.

This mission took on great importance as Google prepared to make perhaps the biggest change to its search experience it had ever contemplated: Google Instant. Google surveyed 160 people—divided equally between Googlers and the general public—as it developed "Google Psychic," the internal code name for what would become Google Instant.

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