Trademark features live long lives. “I’m Feeling Lucky” appeared with the earliest versions of Google Search, giving users a fun roulette experience in search results. In those days, in the dawn of modern web-search intelligence, the “feeling lucky” feature conveyed a fun sense of shining a flashlight into the web’s enormous haystack, searching for a needle.
Google quickly built its reputation on smart and useful results — no luck necessary. But to this day, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button remains firmly installed below the keyword search box on Google’s home page. It is a brand identifier.
Now Google has imported the luck experience to its All Access subscription music service, with “I’m feeling lucky radio.” Based on the user’s listening history, the feature doesn’t differ in principle from personalized recommendations found in most jukebox services. It’s the capriciously blind quality which sets it apart, just as in the web search engine. You don’t get a glimpse of the playlist. The function provides a quick, no-thought, lean-back experience when you’re not in the mood to make choices.
RAIN’s test of the feature, which appeared on an update of Google Play’s Android app, has been erratic. At first, the button rotated through locally stored tracks. We turned it off and gave it an hour to settle into its new home. Trying again, it played a radio stream, as the feature promises. We feel reasonably lucky … but, being customization fiends, we’ll abandon the lucky button and resume personal choices before long.