Tallon - 9:01 am on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
This appears to be a complete corporate brand takeover of Google's first page results, with Wikipedia leading the charge. At this rate I give the search world 5 years before a total corporate driven lockout goes into affect, meaning search traffic will be dead to small publishers.
I've been thinking about that today too, for me there's a big flashing amber light that's warning of danger ahead but I'm thinking 5 years is overly optimistic (my guess is that it's more like 2). All is not lost though, there's opportunity here (and still some time) and you don't necessarily need to have VC money or investors to grab it with two hands.
I know that for many queries, *I* prefer indie websites rather than scanning the latest magazines or big brands online. I may not be the majority in that preference, but I bet there are a lot of us. So if google is making moves to let itself be the big brand promoter (for both its own properties and other investor and VC $$ backed sites), and bing and yahoo follow...there's going to be a void that needs filling (deja vu back to the days before google was google).