caveman - 5:01 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0) Notable benefits from G's POV would seem to include: What's not to like?
IMHO, signor_john has it exactly right regarding Google's view of the effects this might have. Powerful companies can force change and this change has plenty of potential benefit to Google with very little downside to them. The issue of what happens to third parties and how those parties may react becomes for Google largely a PR task, not a strategic restriction (and G can point to existing browser technology as a part of their PR strategy).
-- encouraging more time on Google.com (if you thought cached pages were huge ...),
-- cutting off, at least temporarily, the two-way flow of very valuable information,
-- opening up more revenue streams, should G choose to monetize kw data currently being distributed freely,
-- encouraging more webmaters to share information with G (in order to get information),
-- discouraging SEO
-- encouraging webmasters to focus on "creating great content" rather than on "manipulating SERP's."
Notable benefits from G's POV would seem to include:
What's not to like?