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  • Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money?

    By now I’m sure everyone’s all seen and had a play around with the new Google Instant search interface. There’s lots of early reaction to this on the web, my own included on Econsultancy yesterday.

    Obviously the main goal behind this is to provide results much more quickly and look to improve a searchers overall user experience. But has anyone else noticed that the “I feel lucky”, while still listed on the homepage, is actually now redundant?

    Google Don't Be Evil
    Image credit: Flickr

    In my opinion, the majority of Google’s changes and updates look to achieve one of two things:

    1. improve the relevancy of results for searchers, and
    2. make more money

    Ideally both!

    However, Google Instant is about increasing speed and reducing the user journey required for searchers. But interestingly it looks like it will make them more money too.

    By providing results as soon as you start typing, the new search function now bypasses the “I feel lucky” button, which has cost Google an incredible estimated $110 million dollars in potential revenue in the past! Any good conversion optimisation specialist (or accountant) would tell you to remove that button – which is effectively what Google have done. The only way you can click the “I feel lucky” button now is for an empty query string on the Google homepage, and this just takes you to the Google logos page.

    So that’s clearly a great way of generating extra revenue and that’s all before taking into account the extra paid search ads being served for each query and the potential extra interstitial clicks generated while mid-query.

    Also, for Google – the main reason they are such a huge money-making machine is their huge market share? As I mentioned in my Econsultancy comments, if Instant has a negative reaction this could be a good time for users to switch (most likely to Bing). So how this affects the user has to be the main objective first and foremost. Increasing the average value per searcher is also a goal they will be keen on improving further, and rightly so, but it does little to their revenue if the market share drops as a result.

    So what do you think, is a major increase in revenue a key and intentional part of Google’s thinking in the launch of Instant?

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    24 Responses to “Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money?”

    1. Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV

    2. Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV (new post by @kevgibbo)

    3. RT @seoptimise: Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV (new post by @kevgibbo)

    4. RT @seoptimise: Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV (new post by @kevgibbo)

    5. It looks like they’ve put an ‘I’m feeling lucky’ option on the far right of every suggestion that you hover over in the search box.

      But I couldn’t agree with you more about the fact that with every step made in the direction of “improving” search, improved returns are considered for the company as well, now with a huge increase in amount of page displays and subsequent sponsored results with every additional page view!

      I’ll tweet you the piece I did on the subject :)

    6. RT @seoptimise: Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV (new post by @kevgibbo)

    7. RT @seoptimise: Is Google Instant aimed at killing “I Feel Lucky” & making more money? http://bit.ly/a4covV (new post by @kevgibbo)

    8. app development guy says:

      I think your opinion on this matter is correct but I think the order is wrong, it should be:
      1. make more money, and
      2. improve the relevancy of results for searchers
      I also think you’re missing another cost saving – by speeding up search Google must be using less server time; less server time = less energy consumption… we know that the term Google algorithm is a misconception – algorithms is more accurate. I think there’s a reasonable chance those algorithms are based on length of search term ie if I search for ‘seo’ it uses one algo but if I search for ‘seo optimise’ it uses another algo. Now imagine that the short term algos use less processing… bingo Google just saved themselves a bunch of electricity and we know that power is expensive… and corrupts!
      On that front Google just moved all the data they gather on us into the cloud… did they just put themselves ‘above’ the law of any land in so doing?
      Google are bright – this move is a win/win/win move… did I mention the extra profit in PPC by making more people chase fewer search terms…

    9. @app development guy:

      Interesting points, but I’d guess that Goog is probably going to be consuming quite a bit more energy with Google Instant. According to Googey-baby, Google Instant serves “five to seven times as many results pages for each query performed,” but doesn’t have five to seven times the amount of server capacity.

    10. app dev guy says:

      @Matthew
      Yes, you’re right and I was wrong on the power consumption side.
      Thank you for the link, it contains an interesting (from an SEO perspective) snippet of info:
      ‘We introduced user-state data into our back-ends to keep track of the results pages already shown to a given user—this way we don’t re-fetch the same results repeatedly.’

    11. Google spends over $38 million per year for electricity to power its infrastructure.

      How crazy is that…

    12. Beth says:

      Google Instant appears to give more attention to paid results — and from my opinion and perspective, searchers will now be typing more specific searches and their focus will only go to the search results between the first and fourth sites ranking on page one.

    13. app dev guy says:

      @Matthew
      There’s a nice top 10 infographic there: top 10 power users.
      http://current.com/technology/89948504_facebook-spending-over-1-million-on-electricity-per-month.htm
      to move things along!

    14. E-Crowned says:

      I dont think it killed “I Feel Lucky” but instead it encourage it indirectly. The instant suggestion keywords can change somebody’s searching intentions dramatically.

    15. E-Crowned says:

      I dont think it killed I feel lucky feauture, but instead it encourage that indirectly by suggesting keywrods. The instant suggestion keywords can change somebody’s searching intentions dramatically.

    16. @E-crowned How is ‘dramatically changing searching intentions’ helpful?

      On top of that, Google suggest already took car of that.

      In my opinion, having search intentions ‘changed dramatically’ doesn’t add a lot of value to the search experience anyway–it just encourages sheep mentality. How will search engines truly know what people are searching for if they offer suggestions, and out of laziness, users opt to click on something that looks closest out of the selection offered by G-suggest.

    17. E-Crowned says:

      @ Matthew

      Perhaps was use of the word “dramatically” not very appropriate here.
      Further i want to make clear that I also do NOT believe that Google instant will add any additional value to searching experience.
      By encouraging I Feel lucky I mean that Google determines the search path of the user indirectly (in other words like you said above: sheep mentality).

    18. @dannysullivan @mvanwagner @viperchill that was my reaction too: http://bit.ly/a4covV I’m sure “I feel lucky” has played a part

    19. David says:

      Well of course any update/feature will be heavily influenced if not completely focused on increasing advertising revenue for the company… i would have expected the “i feel lucky” button to have disappeared long ago as I haven’t used it for years because i don’t trust the first result is always going to be relevant to my search term or even relevant to my geographic location….

    20. That’s pretyy funny and conspiracy-like, but c’mon. The I feel lucky button was a toy in the first place and removing it would be no big deal what so ever.

      Does ANYone use it and would ANYone care if it was gone?

      I will say thought that Google Instant needs to go. Maybe it AND the Lucky button can go at the same time. At least the conspiracy theory would have to go right with ‘em.

    21. Google’s petit-four results in the SERPs | Julie Cheung says:

      [...] Personally, it seems Google focuses more on brands as it means more money for them. The same applies with the launch of Google Instant – that was nothing to do with “providing better, faster results” but a way for them to increase their revenue. [...]

    22. Google’s petit-four results in the SERPs says:

      [...] Personally, it seems Google is keen to focus more on brands as it means more money for them. The same applies with the launch of Google Instant – that was nothing to do with “providing better, faster results” but just another way for them to increase their revenue. [...]

    23. Bob says:

      You wrote this post towards the end of 2010 and today in 2012 the “I’m feeling lucky” button is still there and still goes to the doodles page. I guess Google just wouldn’t look right with only 1 button there. I mean just imagine it with just 1 search button. I’m not too sure how it would look. Even if it’s useless now, looks like they intend to keep that button! lol

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