robzilla - 10:14 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
Absolutely a poor experience, and that's coming from an avid Google user. In fact, it was the very first time that I looked at a SERP and thought "Ugh. Leaving." It doesn't happen often enough for me to switch to any other engine, but it was definitely a signal that things may be getting worse instead of better.
It's silly to seriously suggest, however, that any of these changes are made because they might increase ad revenue. As tedster wisely mentioned here [webmasterworld.com], "there's no direct dollar path from an organic search result to Google income." Web search is too much of a long-term asset, anyway.
I would therefore have to agree with ascensions: the "herd" has simply shown a preference for this. Sheep are odd, is all I can say to that.