Welcome to the forums, Aoe2913.
Unfortunately, our first interaction is going to be a bit confrontational, because I couldn't disagree more. What you describe would not have taken over a year to develop, but Pandas did - over a year in development before it was deployed.
Also, I am certain that Google's search algorithms are developed without direct input from Adwords or Adsense data.
Panda, generically speaking, is a further development of Google's many year focus on measuring user engagement of web pages. Highly Engaging results is what Google's users appreciate the most, and it's what they intend to deliver. Does this means that "big brands" tend to rank well more often? Sure - because they already have developed strong user engagement through many channels.
Most of your speculation is a restatement of various conspiracy theories - the kind that were around well before Panda and just will not die. The thing webmasters need to appreciate is that Google's purpose is NOT to send them traffic, and it will never be. That's just not their business model. If it were, there wouldn't really be any business there.