Having seen a number of examples over the years I've been wondering where this kind of interfaces stand today.
What I mean by "automatic UI" is the following.
Normally on screens, dialogues and web pages you have some input controls where you need to enter data then you press a command button "Go", "Search", "Filter" or whatever. If these are the settings, then the buttons say "Save" or "Apply". An important part here is that you always have a way to cancel the intended action by closing the window, the dialog, the page or by clicking the "Cancel" button.
With automatic interfaces there are no such action buttons. Things happen on their own as soon as you stopped entering the data in the input controls or remove the input focus from a control. Examples are many:
Google instant search where it filters the results as soon as you stopped typing, you don't have to click "Search" explicitly
Settings dialogues in the Safari Browser. As soon as you change anything it is immediately saved. The dialogues have no explicit "Save" or "Apply" buttons.
Lately the search on Stack Overflow careers. Search is triggered as soon as you remove the focus from any input control where you've introduced a change.
Now the question is, what is the industry opinion on this kind if interfaces?
Are they considered modern and "cool" so users want them everywhere?
Are they known to improve usability? Any studies on the matter?
Do they have any technical advantage behind the scenes?
Or is this simply a different way to do things and is nothing but a matter of taste?
My personal experiences with these interfaces are twofold. Sometimes it does simplify the interaction like Google's instant search so I see them as a positive thing. On the other side of the fence, the dialogues save and apply things immediately so if you click or change something wrongfully it will have consequences which are sometimes difficult to clean up, especially if you didn't notice you clicked somewhere (like the focus was in some list and you wheeled your mouse). In that case these interfaces raise the feeling of insecurity.
So I'm interested in your opinion on the thing. Any "official" statements from companies on this sort of things. Any usability case studies. Anything to explain why people are doing such interfaces and how they perform.
UPDATE: I've just come to realize what I don't like in these instant interfaces. It's psychological, it is the feeling of lack of control. With explicit buttons, things happen when I say. Without them, things happen when the software decides and I feel like a passive and helpless observer.