Jerff Atwood has a blog post entitled Google's Number One UI Mistake where he writes

Google's user interface minimalism is admirable. But there's one part of their homepage UI, downloaded millions of times per day, that leaves me scratching my head:

Google: I'm not feeling so lucky.

Does anyone actually use the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button? I've been an avid Google user since 2000; I use it somewhere between dozens and hundreds of times per day. But I can count on one hand the number of times I've clicked on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.
I urge us to Omit Needless Buttons. I hope the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button isn't considered
a sacred cow at Google. Removing it would be one small step for Google, but a giant collective improvement in the default search user interface for users around the world.

A number of Jeff’s readers chimed in with the reason why Jeff is mistaken about this being a user interface “mistake” on Google’s part.

Robert Cooper wrote the following as part of his response

Google actually brought that up when they were user testing the UI a while back. (I can't remember where I read the story) But the crux of it was, the users actually LIKE having that button there, and rated the search interface lower when it wasn't there.

Geoff Wilson also validates the idea that this is on purpose in his response which is excerpted below

I remember listening to a google staffer on a podcast a while ago, and the reason the "I feel lucky" button stays is not its click through rates, but the message it sends about google's corporate culture.

Apparently, users felt Google was more human by having something quirky like that on the front page. It doesn't have lots of people click on it, but it encouraged more people to click on the main "Google Search" button.

and here’s one more comment excerpt, this time from Max

They can't remove that button now, it's part of their branding, part of their identity. They would be no more likely to stop updating their logo with colorful playful holiday-appropriate images (the shock of all that wasted bandwidth as proxy servers everywhere have to recache it!) than they would to remove that button.

Needless to say, the connection that branding builds between the user and the service/company is important. This button and the feeling of playfulness that it reflects on google even moreso. The few extra bytes of page size and the small extra cognitive load is more than made up for the positive feelings it engenders in users.

 Building a connection with the users of your software is important. There’s nothing like a little playfulness and humor to make your company and your software seem a lot more friendly to your customers.

Now playing: Timbaland - The Way I Are (Extended mix) (feat. Keri Hilson, Sebastian & D.O.E)


Monday, July 30, 2007 6:54:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Do we really care about a company's "branding"? What we care about is that Google works, and it's lightning fast. Whether they have a delightful sense of whimsy is completely irrelevant to me. "Branding" is corporate weaselspeak.

I'd also argue that 99% of users don't even *see* that button, and certainly far less than 1% use it, by Marissa Meyer's own data.

Also, Google in 2000 is not the same as Google in 2007. Buttons that made sense in 2000 may no longer make sense. They've tweaked the UI before-- most recently by adding the menu bar-- why not tweak it again?
Monday, July 30, 2007 7:13:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
You may not like branding...but most people do. You might as well complain about the fact that their logo changes every holiday. It breaks HTTP caches thus wasting bandwidth and is rather distracting thus wasting valuable seconds of your time as you stop to appreciate it. However it is a fun aspect of their corporate character which endears them to their users.

If you hate the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button so much, install GreaseMonkey and remove it yourself.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:40:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Timbaland? Dare, you have terrible taste in music. Timbaland is a thieving hack plus his music sucks.
Scott Storch
Wednesday, August 1, 2007 9:35:30 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What's really funny about it isn't that it's there but that it actually works surprisingly often just the way I'd expect as the results are arranged so that useful sites are weighted to be #1 result in Google. This isn't the case so often in MSN/Live search since as "databases" like discogs,imdb,sourceforge,msdn documentation,wikipedia don't seem to get so much preferential treatment.

Actually I lied. Google doesn't prefer discogs as much as the rest. But it's still a lot better than Live when not including discogs in the search terms. For example test search of very obscure out of print vinyl with Google immediately gives ebay listing to purchase the vinyl, while Live gives only unrelated hits.

Ideally search "audio sex brooklyn massive" would link to the which is the best reference source and independent permanent market place for this as discogs has a process to verify additions to their db.
Friday, August 3, 2007 7:22:33 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Is it really fair to compare Google's logo with a *button*?

Who weeps for the removal of a button that "far less than 1%"-- again, Marissa Meyer's own words-- of people actually use?

That isn't branding; it's noise.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 3:03:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Great article! WOW!
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