Google just effectively offed one of it’s oldest, quirkiest features – the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
The good news is that in the process, Google added at least another hundred million dollars in revenue.
It used to be that you could go to Google.com, type a search query into the search box and then, by clicking “I’m feeling lucky,” go directly to the page that would have been listed as the top search result.
But then today happened, and Google announced “Google Instant.” Now, when you go to Google.com and start typing a search into the search bar, Google instantly begins showing search results. Users no longer have a chance to click the “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” before they begin seeing search results. Yes, the button is still there on Google.com – but essentially, the feature is dead.
So, how does killing the “I’m feeling lucky” button gain Google more than $100 million?
In 2007, Google search boss Marissa Mayer estimated that 1% of all Google searches go through the I’m Feeling Lucky button – skipping Google’s search results pages entirely.
That meant that Google showed ZERO ads (and therefore got ZERO ad clicks) on 1% of all Google search queries. Back in 2007, an analyst suggested the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button probably cost Google as much as $110 million per year.
At the time, Marissa Mayer said that Google hadn’t ditched the button because “It’s possible to become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money.”
She said, “I think what’s delightful about ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ is that it reminds you there are real people here.”
Today, Marissa gets to eat her (cup)cake and have it too. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is still there on Google.com – perhaps reminding users there are real people at Google – but it’s been rendered entirely irrelevent.