While many of the "quality highlights" they list sound like genuine improvements geared towards either optimizing Google's resources, or improving user experience, but ones like:
Live results for NFL and college football. [project codename “Live Results”] We’ve added new live results for NFL.com and ESPN’s NCAA Football results. These results now provide the latest scores, schedules and standings for your favorite football teams.
Upcoming events at venues. We've improved the recently released places panel for event venues. For major venues, we now show up to three upcoming events on the right of the page. Try it for [staples center los angeles] or [paradise rock club boston].
are, in my opinion crossing the line from "search engine" to content scraping.
Unless these entities are producing symantic data and open source API calls that anyone could use to collect and publish the same data, Google is scraping and creating even more of monopoly on web content.
...Own a website that lists events in Boston?
...Running a sports site with scores?
...sorry, a number of users will no longer visit your site, they'll just get the info from Google.