We all know how regular Google works, right? You type in a phrase, you press the search button, (you can also just press return or enter on your keyboard) and Google returns a results page that shows multiple Web sites matching your search phrase.
The I’m Feeling Lucky button skips the search results page and goes directly to the first ranked page for that search phrase. Depending on your search query, the first result is usually the very best guess, so hitting the I’m Feeling Lucky button saves you a few extra seconds parsing through the list of search results.
I’m Feeling Lucky is handy if you’re fairly confident that the first result in the search engine is going to be exactly the page you want to find, but not so handy if you know you’re going to be looking at a lot of sites.
So, how does “I’m feeling lucky” button costs 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.”
But, Google is using “Google Instant ” now. When you go to Google.com and start typing a search into the search bar, Google instantly begins showing search results and the page changes to one without the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. 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.