Step 1: Click on this link

Step 2: Hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”

If you’re good at following instructions, you would have landed on Google’s Logos page, which is a repository for Google doodles of bygone days. Pretty neat!

On that note, it’s interesting how Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button has nearly become a relic in search. As Business Insider reported back in September 2011, the release of Google Instant, in which Google searches as you are still typing in the keywords, has effectively killed the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. 

Back then, this seemed like a good idea – people were fans of the auto-complete and Google’s vast amounts of data on previous searches allowed for fairly accurate predictions of what you were looking for. (On a side note, you should totally watch this video on “Being a Google Autocompleter”.) However, in light of the search capabilities of Siri and more curated search services, such as Quora, the path that Google chose to take may very well be counter-intuitive. 

Searching with Siri is the voice equivalent of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. In its usual style, Apple also prides itself in its black-box approach. Siri, like other Apple product, not only works, but works very well. And yet, the user is supposed to have absolutely no idea how everything is computed.

Google, on the other hand, is fan of data transparency. As stated on its website, Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” To this end, its approach has largely been one of brute force – Google indexes all the data available and then presents it all for the user to decide. Given this overwhelming task, it’s not surprising that most users never go beyond the second page of Google search results.

I think the juxtaposition of Google Search and Siri mirrors nicely the progression of the Internet as an information network. In the early days, data on the internet was scarce, and thus Google’s approach in presenting the information in all its breadth and depth was largely useful. However, as the Internet grew larger, the amount of data “noise” grew as well. The difficulty of search today isn’t necessarily having enough information, but getting precisely the information that you want. Here’s where Siri comes in, to help filter this noise and deliver information in a bite-sized, completely digestible way.  

While Siri appears to be the future, now, I’m sure the folks at Google are aware of the threats their Search bread-and-butter faces. This will indeed be an interesting battle to play out. 

Step 1: Click on this link

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