The Life and Demise (?) of Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button

google i'm feeling lucky

Many things define the 2000s to 2010s era — flashing the latest Juicy Couture fashion, listening to Avril Lavigne and frosting the tips of your hair are just a few of them. But one of the most defining moments of the era, particularly during the rise of the internet, was the mystery of Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

Early Google users remember the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that sat next to the Google Search button. Some people have never given much thought about this second button, preferring to click the much-used search button. Others, however, were mystified.

What would happen if you clicked the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google?

Others found out and started to appreciate the button. Along the way, it somehow became a meme. But in 2010, it was gone.

So what happened? Was the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button of Google not so lucky after all? Is it still relevant today or are you better off without it?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” in Google?

Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button was designed to save people more time. When you click the other search button, it directly takes you to web pages that answer your query. For instance, if you search for “best budget-friendly employee incentives” using the regular search button, Google displays a results page that shows websites matching your search phrase.

However, if you use the same keyword phrase in Google and click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button instead, the search engine skips the search results and directly takes you to the top-ranking page for that search term or phrase. For example, if you type the word “vaccination” and clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky,” you may end up on a COVID-19 vaccination page.

The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button from Google was handy, especially for users who were confident that the first result is highly likely the page you want. If you’re lucky (as the button implies), you’ll save time and energy on your search. On the other hand, it won’t be so “lucky” if you ended up looking through multiple websites.

How Did the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button Work?

All you had to do was type in your search phrase, press the “I’m Feeling Lucky” and wait for Google to return with the top page for your search phrase. The button bypasses all other websites in the search engine results pages (SERPs), so you save more time and effort.

Depending on your search term, you’ll receive the website Google deems as the best one.

But What If You’re Feeling Something Else?

Google’s creativity shone with their alternative to the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. When you first pull up the search page before entering your search term, holding your cursor over the Feeling Lucky button reveals its different moods. The phrases change randomly. For instance, you may see “I’m Feeling Doodly” or “I’m Feeling Curious” instead of “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

To add some fun to your search, click this button as it spins before you enter your search phrase. Here, you’ll see what your luck will turn to. If you’re not a big fan of the random selection, move the cursor away and hover the button again for a different set of choices.

Google’s “I’m Feeling Something Else” option was a fun way to kill a few minutes when searching. You had no idea where you’re going to land, which is a plus if you want to explore the search engine. On the other hand, it could be annoying, especially if you are looking for something specific.

Did You Need a Search Term to Use the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button?

Not really. If you hover over the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button and click one of the “I’m Feeling Lucky options” without typing a search phrase, Google will take you to a website it thinks you’ll like. For instance, if you click “I’m Feeling Puzzled,” you’ll end up on a page of puzzles. If you click on “I’m Feeling Hungry,” Google will take you to a website full of restaurant options.

Google Photos has its Version of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button!

The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button isn’t just exclusive to the search page. This feature is also available with Google Photos for Android, iPhone or iPad. It works the same on all devices and it looks a bit different from its search engine counterpart.

If you’re on your iPad or iPhone, touch and hold the Google Photos icon on your folder or home screen. Tap “I’m Feeling Lucky” on the home menu. On the other hand, if you are on Android, the button will look different depending on the launcher you’re using, but the same technique works. Touch and hold the Photos icon on your home screen, app drawer or folder and tap the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option on the menu.

When you click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google Photos, your phone will present you with a random set of photos until you see the one you’re looking for.

Where is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button Now?

Sadly, Google killed the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button in 2010. On the bright side, for Google at least, the search engine giant gained a hundred million dollars in revenue.

When Google ended the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button’s lucky streak, it introduced “Google Instant.” Using this new feature, all you have to do is type your search phrase into the search bar and wait for Google to immediately show search results. No need to choose between two buttons; all you have to do is search.

You get your search results ASAP and Google gained $100 million. But how did killing the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button earned Google that much money?

Why Did Google Remove the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button?

They didn’t. But it’s no longer as relevant as it was before.

In 2007, Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s search bosses, reported that only a percent of Google’s searches go through the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button. This meant that the search engine giant showed NO ads on a percent of all of Google’s search queries. No ads meant no ad clicks, which also meant no income. In the same year, a Google analyst reported that the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button cost Google more than $100 million annually.

At that time, Mayer claimed Google didn’t remove the button because the company refused to be seen as too corporate or too dry. They didn’t want to be another business that is “too much about making money.”

Currently, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is still on Google to remind users that the company is composed of “real people.” But the button itself has become irrelevant.

google search
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

But What if I Don’t Have the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button on Google?

It’s rare for any Google home page to not have the iconic “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. But if you’re one of them, there’s a way to restore this handy shortcut.

  1. Go to the top right side of your Chrome window and click on the menu button.
  2. On the drop-down menu, click on Settings.
  3. Scroll down the page to the search options and click on Manage search engines.
  4. Next, select the “Add” option, which sits on top of the “Other Search Engines” section.
  5. Under the “Search Engine” selection, type “I’m Feeling Lucky.”
  6. Under the “I’m Feeling Lucky” keyword, type any phrase you want to use to let Google know that you prefer this search engine. You can choose “Lucky” or other words (but Lucky is better in referring to the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button).
  7. Hit add and you can enjoy the “I’m Feeling Lucky” search engine.

What’s unique about this “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature on Google Chrome?

  • The autocomplete suggestions are personalized and powered by Google.
  • There are many triggers available, all of them designed to personalize your search experience.
  • Deep integration with the Google search results, guaranteeing the best quality of results.
  • It’s free!

Plus, Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” still has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Keep in mind though, that Google frequently changes their search method, which means you may not always see the button.

But as long as you try the hack above, you can enjoy the following tricks:

  • Google sphere. See a spinning effect.
  • “Elgoog.” Type this phrase to see a mirror effect.
  • Google Loco. You’ll see what’s moving.
  • Who is the cutest. If you’re interested in finding out Google’s opinion on this question, type this trick. Spoiler: it’s you.
  • Find Chuck Norris. A must keyword for big fans of Chuck Norris.
  • Google gravity. Find out what happens when gravity takes the world of Google. If you want to find out the opposite (life without gravity), type Google Anti Gravity.
  • Google Pacman. If you’re missing this old game, play it at Google.
  • Google Underwater. Experience Google with some whales and sharks!
  • Ninja Google. Make it Google but still ninjas.
  • Zerg Rush! From real-time strategy game StarCraft.
  • Atari Breakout. Try a playable version of Atari.
  • Flip a Coin or Roll a Dice. Talk about “feeling lucky,” flip a virtual coin or roll a virtual dice to decide.

Google doesn’t just serve the creative and easily bored; academics can also do their research on the popular platform. Look up books, articles and dissertations from a variety of fields on Google Scholar. The search engine sources its data from the search repositories of publishers, universities and various scholarly websites.

Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is the stuff of nostalgia, as well as a reminder of how far Google has come in terms of improving its user experience. Although the button is considered irrelevant, it adds a human touch and fun to Google’s search experience.

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