Why I use 'I'm Feeling Lucky' for every search

A week ago, I tried a fun experiment.

I configured my Chrome browser to send search queries to Google’s ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’. The feature skips the search results page and automatically navigates to the first result.

To my surprise, I love it. Searching ‘Princeton map’ takes me to the official map, ‘python import syntax’ to the modules docs, and ‘bent spoon hours’ to the hours page of my favorite ice cream shop. When the algorithm is not confident about the first result, it gracefully sends me to the usual search results page.

Occassionally I use the ‘g’ keyword in my search bar to do a normal Google search. The results page is useful for doing research on a topic, for example. With most searches, though, I’m pretty happy with the first result.

It’s anecdata, but I think the productivity improvement is noticeable. ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ has long existed as a fun feature. Now, Google’s ranking algorithm might be smart enough for us to take it seriously. Web searches should be about answers, not search results.

Sometimes it screws up: ‘obama birthday’ takes me to The Washington Times. To easily return to search results, I created a Chrome extension called Lucky Strike. The extension installs a button to pull up the search results page for your most recent query. You can install it for yourself on the Chrome Web Store. If you don’t mind retyping queries, you can add ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ to your search bar the plain vanilla way.

‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ doesn’t always work. But when it does, it’s insanely good.

Give it a shot.

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Productivity ⋅ January 2015