The Lost Google ‘I’m Feeling Bored’ Button

You may be familiar with the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that appears under the search box on Google’s home page. Enter a search query into the search box, and click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, and Google will deliver you to the top result for your query. That button has been on the front of Google since the very early days of the search engine.

A patent granted to Google this week would have added an “I’m Feeling Bored” button on Google Calendar. An image from the patent shows the button at the top of a page where you can perform an event search, specifying keywords, a geographical area, and a time period. If you click the button without entering any of that information, the event search might try to find events for you based upon your past query history.

A Google events search engine interface for Google Calendar showing results for a search for Giants games in San Francisco during a week in September of 2006.

Under the process described in the patent, when you search for an event, that event might be one that Google found when crawling the web, in a news article, through a syndicated feed, or from other sources. Events can cover a wide range of activities, including artistic performances, sporting events, lectures, and auctions.

Event searching
Invented by Nikhil Chandhok, Peter Solderitsch, Michael Gordon, Philo Juang
Assigned to Google
US Patent 7,647,353
Granted January 12, 2010
Filed: November 14, 2006


Events can be searched by identifying a query that includes a time interval and a search component, determining a time increment associated with the time interval, and partitioning the time interval into partitions based on the time increment.

For each partition, a relevance of each event in a collection of events that occur at a time in the partition is determined based on the query. A pre-determined number of the relevant events are displayed.

The description shown for an event could include more than just a listing of the event, and could have a detailed description, including non-textual information such as images, video, audio and other multimedia.

When you list a location, such as “The Alamo,” the event search engine could be configured to “hierarchically recognize places,” so that it might be able to broaden your “The Alamo” search to include other places in San Antonio, Texas.

Since this event search could be included in Google Calendar, it could present you with a number of different calendar views of events that you’ve searched for, such as this one for one for a particular month:

An interface for a Google events search engine for Google Calendar showing a month of results for a search for Giants games n San Francisco during September of 2006.

Looking for something to do, but not sure what? Under the patent description, you could have hit the “I’m feeling bored” button without entering any values in any of the fields. When the “I’m feeling bored” button is activated, a query would be automatically generated based on, e.g., past queries or randomly generated and submitted to the event search system.


There is no “I’m feeling bored” button on Google Calendars, but an Official Google Blog post from back in November of 2006 (around the time that this patent was filed), describes how you may have been able to “Search Public Events in Google Calendar.”:

Today we launched a new feature of Google Calendar: “Search public events.” It lets you search over public events added by others using Calendar and also events we’ve added by working with partners to provide movie listings, concerts, and all sorts of other fun events.

It appears that the “search public events” search has disappeared sometime since that post was blogged. Google has noted on one the page where they mentioned that they were removing their search on public calendars (Removing public calendar search and the public calendar gallery) that they might bring that feature back in the future.

Google does describe how you can add a Google Calendar to your web site, and have people share an event or events from your calendar. The What’s new with Google Calendar page shows that Google has been actively adding other features to Google Calendar.

Will we see a return of a “search public events” application, and the introduction of a “I’m feeling bored” button? The “events search” described in the patent would include events from more places than public Google Calendars, which could lead to much greater usage.

With many new applications likely arriving for Google’s Android, a calendar program that could search for public events might be a tremendous addition. It’s possible that a public event search for mobile computing users might go over much better than one built for desktop users in 2006.

22 thoughts on “The Lost Google ‘I’m Feeling Bored’ Button”

  1. This definitely looks to be something that google would be developing based on the mindset of creating an interesting product and then monetizing it rather than the other way round.

    I read that the feeling lucky button on the google homepage costs them over $110 million per year (although the source was a article on hub pages if I remember rightly) so further roll out on anything that would bypass the opportunity to advertise seems like a bit of a crazy decision.

    Hope everyone had a good new Christmas and New Year!

  2. Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for the well wishes – I hope your holidays were good ones, too.

    It does look like it could be a userful service – I would expect that it Google brings public search back, and broadens it by showing more events than just what people include in public calendars, that they would likely show advertisements, too. If they include ads in Gmail, I wouldn’t be surprised by seeing them in Google Calendar.

    I had heard that about the “I’m feeling Lucky” button as well. I expect that any lost revenue is more than made up for by people liking the inclusion of features like that button enough that they keep on returning to Google.

  3. I guess a “I’m feeling bored” Button on calendars makes much more sense than on the usual google site.
    Event though I almost never use it, I think it’s a good invention from the “good old days” of google.

    Thanks for the post!

  4. there is a new search engine in Germany, where you upload your schedule, so that you can search for others who may be in the same place so you can connect in person. I would like the events option to come back. Sometimes it is hard keeping up with different events around the area, and then it would be nice to see if someone I know is there.

  5. Hi Webdesign Rosenheim,

    I’m trying to remember the last time I thought to click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. It’s been a while. 🙂

  6. Hi Frank,

    The German search engine sounds interesting. I’d like to see Google come out with a public events calendar. It sounds like the one that they had was a little limited. Maybe we’ll see a return with more features, and more incentives for people to share.

  7. Anybody know how many people actually click the im feeling lucky button? Frankly I think I only used it once in my life (fist time opening google). Furthermore doesnt it just cost them more than its worth? However many people click it dont get to see any of the adwords boxes in the SERPS?

  8. Hi Bilety Lover,

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that there aren’t a lot of clicks on the I’m feeling lucky button, but that Google feels that it’s such an important part of the personality of their website that they wouldn’t think of removing it at all. The button helps create the impression that Google is dedicated towards helping you find the ideal page to answer your query.

    It may cost them a few advertising opportunities, for people who click on the button and get delivered directly to a web page instead of search results pages that show sponsored advertising, but it’s one of the things that gets people to return to the search engine over and over. Much in the same way that they sometimes show specialized logos to celebrate a holiday or a historical event – there’s no direct revenue tied to those logo changes, but they help create a positive and engaging feeling about the search engine.

  9. I’ve been using Google for years but this is my first click on I’m Feeling Lucky! Like one or two correspondents above I’m not quite sure I completely grasp its concept. What I am amazed at and hope a patent attorney may be able to explain is the TM that attaches itself to the phrase. My question is how on earth is it possible to trademark a statement that employs 3 words in everyday usage? Brand names are easy to TM since they are either unique to the product or, like mine, “”, a stand alone label. Meanwhile I am looking into the whole question of trade marking here in the UK where copyrighting is such a grey area. As far as Google is concerned why stop at “lucky” – what about I’m Feeling….Sexy….Sad….Excited…. Lonely….Sick and so on?

  10. Hi Mike,

    The button was a feature on the very early versions of Google, and it’s possible that they hold on to it more to show off their quirky character than they do because it’s used often. I’m not sure that too many people use the button.

    I am not a practicing attorney, but I can provide you with some legal information. It’s not unusual for people to confuse the two concepts, but trademark isn’t copyright. There’s nothing stopping you from going around saying “I’m feeling lucky” all day long if you want to, or even using the phrase in writing. But, if you build a search engine and add a button to it that says “I’m feeling lucky,” that takes someone to the top search result for their query, then there is a potential trademark problem.

  11. Do people actually use the I’m feeling lucky button? Has google ever produced any data on this? I doubt it does get any significant use, but if it does, it may just be a valid argument for an I”m bored button. Still wouldn’t use it myself thought

  12. “the event search might try to find events for you based upon your past query history.”

    That would be great, I’ve just about run out of “bored at work” type sites to keep me entertained.

  13. Hi Andrew,

    I’d definitely try this out if Google decided to release it. I’ve been struggling with finding local events in my area all summer.

  14. So I have “instant is on” in google search preferences. In the search bar when I type, “SEO by” not in quotes, google search bar gives me a suggestion below the search bar. From there I move my cursor over the suggestion bar below, it turns blue, and to the right the words “I’m feeling lucky” appear. I click it and it takes me to SEO by the Sea! Haven’t noticed it or used it much but figured you’d want to know.

  15. You know, i don’t think i’ve ever clicked the ‘am i feeling lucky’ button.. I just assumed it had something to do with advertising of some sort and never bothered!

  16. Hi RoxyB,

    I’m guessing I’ve probably clicked on that button less than a handful of times. If it’s going to be the first result, why not just click on the search button, and see the other results, too?

  17. I’ve never used the I’m Feeling Lucky button because I don’t think Google knows better than I do about what I’m looking for. And searching public events sounds great in concept but in reality most events are not properly advertised or the info is completely out of date. I guess I just object to the idea of leaving all my thinking to GOOGLE!

  18. Hi Lane,

    I wonder sometimes if Google keeps the “I’m feeling lucky” button not because they expect people to use it, but rather as an indication of their brand – it’s something recognizable and stands out.

    It’s hard to find events on the Web. This patent points out one way that might make it a little easier, but it doesn’t rely upon Google for information about those events, but rather people who might use the service they describe.

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