Google makes its money, first and foremost, by misdirection. You type in a word and they serve you listings from people who have bought the right to that word.
Yes, they also serve you "natural" listings, but they don't make any money on that. They only make money on misdirection.
Because it's for sale, their paid search has little credibility. Now they are busy undermining the credibility of their natural search.
Google is getting deeper and deeper into content. This creates enormous opportunities for mischief. Google's natural search is supposed to serve you the most relevant result for your inquiry. But since they've bought Zagat, can you really expect that they will not lean toward Zagat reviews rather than Yelp reviews? And will Hulu get fair treatment compared to the new programming being created for YouTube, which Google owns?
According to the Chronicle, Google will also soon be introducing a new product called Google Shopping which will replace Google Product Search. The difference? Google Product Search allowed you to compare prices of products from many retailers and websites. Google Shopping will charge retailers to be included, so you'll only get results from companies who grease Google.
According to the Chronicle, some clown named Sameer Samat, who is a VP of something at Google, contends that this is not about them making more money. Heck no! You see, they are doing this for us -- to provide us with more accurate information. Shucks, ain't that sweet of them?
But then again...
In 2004 Google said,
"Because we do not charge merchants...our users can browse product categories or conduct product searches with confidence that the results we provide are relevant and unbiased..."So I guess now that they are charging merchants we have no choice but to assume the results will be irrelevant and biased.