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We finish each other’s…
sentences search results.
Want a partner who knows what you’re thinking and can complete your thoughts?
It’s probably not going to happen, at least very often, and it might be a little weird if it did.
But what about a search engine? Now that would be more likely (and possibly preferable).
When your love interest isn’t consistently tuning in to your needs, autocomplete suggestions (not to be confused with the slightly different autosuggest) are the next best thing. This software functionality completes users’ words or strings of letters entered in the search box without them having to type out full phrases. When you want to be understood, and also get to a helpful search results page fast, it’s good practice to use the autocomplete feature.
Autocomplete search suggestions functionality, also known as predictive search (and typeahead), is a software function in text-based applications that aims to automatically complete a word or phrase as you type it.
You’ve probably used autocomplete many times to view relevant suggestions. You know, you begin typing a Google search term and the search bar finishes it for you in a drop-down menu of trending terms. You watch your email program predict contact names as you’re typing in email addresses. You start entering product names you hope to find on Amazon or your favorite ecommerce site and see a slew of autocompletes. An autocomplete list is magical.
The concept of autocompletion was initially conceived as a piece of software intended to help disabled people who found typing difficult to manage. To their relief, autocomplete helped out by jumping into the user’s search input process and finishing what they were struggling to get out.
The technology eventually found its way into the mainstream, trickling into heavyweight search engines like Google and Bing. Software engineer Kevin Gibbs brought the idea to Google and was pivotal in launching what he called Google Suggest (now Google Autocomplete; his utilization of technological advances such as Big Data and high-speed Internet created an eerily accurate and personalized predictive service.
Despite its relying on complex technologies, autocomplete works in a fairly simple way. The autocomplete function detects what a user appears to be typing in the input field, and, with each keystroke, begins to match words and phrases in the site search index.
The process of how words and phrases appear in the search index in response to user input and are prioritized over others, however, is more complicated.
For starters, search engine companies like Google have a blacklist, so certain words and phrases, such as those related to violence, hate speech, and copyright infringement, are omitted.
The way autocomplete technology pulls words and phrases from the search index and ranks them depends on a number of factors, including:
What benefits do ecommerce website owners get out of supplying autocomplete search functionality? The list is long.
According to SlideShare, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that provides a personalized customer experience. So for your prospective customers, along with other personalized search features, autocomplete could be a game changer.
A search engine is like the gateway to your online or app content. A search bar without autocomplete is like a gate that’s locked or hasn’t been oiled; to gain access, people have to do more work.
The more easily the gates swing open, the more quickly your users can get to your products, services, or content. A sophisticated search tool is a welcoming, open gateway.
Specifically, autocomplete helps users:
Prospective customers want to move through an excellent search experience seamlessly, in a way that feels personal to them, and a powerful search engine with autocomplete can help them do just that. On-site search improves site usability and drives up ROI.
Algolia provides best-in-class search and discovery technology for businesses, delivering personalized shopping experiences that can boost conversion rates 30%+. Our API lets you seamlessly implement search on your sites and in mobile apps. You can: