I guess it should be expected from a company with a motto of 'don't be evil' though ... If they didn't have that inclination, why would they need to remind themselves all the time?
We've all got the inclination - even the saints of human race. It's the inevitable shadow side of everyone.
But as immense power accrues in one place, that makes the inevitable shadow a real problem for others. Economist Milton Friedman once said "Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."
The title and description editing algorithm has definitely been cranked up into high gear these days. I was just with a client yesterday and we ran into examples several times during our conference session. The title edits are definitely query dependent, rather than having one permanent edit in place for every search phrase. And in the case of my client, the edits were improvements that saved them from their own mistakes. As intended, the rewriting was helping their traffic.
But any machine algo is going to make mistakes some percentage of the time - and this rewrite definitely does. I'm assuming this Rewriter is a complex machine learning algorithm that watches its own results and attempts to improve itself automatically.
We can hope that the machine learning part will notice that despite the original intention, clicks actually go down in some cases. Other than that, we really don't have any option - our rankings are like fruit flies in Google's immense laboratory. And so far, they have given us no way to participate in this part of experiment.