glitterball - 1:02 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)
I'm starting to see this for general terms and while it's bad in the short-term, it makes me optimistic about the future.
Why? Because it means that Google are not far from the complacent state it's competitors were in when they arrived and shook up the market and that sooner or later something is going to come along and do it to them.
If you take a look at a typical user's setup on a widescreen display, they have IE with a couple of toolbars installed and with this move, a typical set of results may have 3 sponsored links at the top followed by several results from the same domain - you have to go below the fold to see any more!
I seem to remember something similar in the late 90s.
Google don't trust the advertisers, they certainly don't listen to webmasters and seem to regard the users as complete idiots who have to be told what they want. Their corporate culture is so strong that they just don't listen to anyone else. When they get some serious competition, they won't be able to respond.
Make no mistake, the beancounters are firmly in charge of search and are going to milk this for the shareholders for as long as they can. I'm guessing that most of the talent at Google are off developing other products - many of which are great, but don't seem to be generating important revenue streams.