Clark - 5:24 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)
did you notice that with the new Place Search, the Google Map floats down on the right as you scroll, obscuring the Adwords? That's not putting profit above all else.
I don't agree. Marketing is part of profit too. If you convince people that you care more about quality than profit, people will use your search engine because they perceive it to be better. That's why they do little things like cover up their ads and throw you a bone here or there. It's brainwashing people into believe Google is a "different" kind of company. Heart in the right place and all that.
Don't forget, they had a designer quit because he had to defend how many pixels wide he wanted to make a border and back it up with data.
When they cover up their ads, they analyze the effects. If they measure border width, you can bet they will measure how traffic shaping will profit them most...if a better user experience is a side effect, so be it. But that's not the goal (imo).