A new Google search interface experiment has been discovered. While there have been a few fun design changes, one major Google element has been removed: the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
The Luckless Design
The new version of the design was discovered by Google Operating System on the Finnish version of Google’s site. New design elements included a color change in the left menu, a slightly more prominent header, and placement of the “similar” and “cached” options (previously a part of each SERP result) in the Instant Preview segment for their respective sites.
The most prominent addition, though, was actually a removal. We no longer have an option to tell Google we’re feeling lucky.
The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, for many years, took users to the top-ranked Google result for the query, completely bypassing the SERP, though Googlers like Marissa Mayer admitted in the past that it was rarely used. Likely drawn from the famed Clint Eastwood “Do you feel lucky, punk?” line, the button was originally a sign of Google’s confidence in their superior SERP ranking. A loss of confidence, however, is probably not the cause of the button’s removal.
This isn’t the first time rumors of the death of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button swirled. Google in 2009 also briefly tested a new UI that removed the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. The button was also replaced with “Insert Coin” when Google posted their popular playable Pac-Man Doodle.
Why Google’s (Maybe) Removing the Button
Most people fly right by the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button because of Google Instant, which pulls up the SERP before the query is even fully entered. This renders the button useless, except to those who have manually disabled Instant or have a browser that doesn’t support it.
The button, when clicked without entering a search query (the only option most will have to do so), takes users to the Google doodle page where they can browse through the different Google logo variations that have been used for holidays, commemorations, and special events over the years.
It makes sense to remove the button, but there’s at least one great loss: nostalgia.
The most prominent was a joke placed by Google in their own results. If you typed in the query “find Chuck Norris,” then hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, Google returned the following message: “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.” The good news is that this message is posted at an alternate site, so it should outlive the button that once led to it.