Why do the "little guys" disappear? Not because Google has a "thing" against them, but rather because based on the preceding they're obviously not what Google's Searchers want to see.
Agreed, sort of. I'm sure a few of those little sites actually ARE what visitors want, but visitors don't know it because they'll never find those sites. It's the same offline - little businesses struggle hard, even when they're offering something awesome, because the brands are better able to get their message out.
For a lot of years, big business didn't bother with the web and that allowed startups like Google and little sites to thrive. Suddenly, there was an unexpected democracy happening in business. Then big business realized there was something to this 'net thing and started pushing their way in, and online became just like offline. None of this can be blamed on Google.
Where Google had a choice, however, is in deciding just how much strength to put on branding signals. IMO, they need to dial it down, and I know a lot of us feel that way. But it doesn't matter. They're doing what they want, and no matter how unfair it seems to us, it's the same challenge small businesses have always faced.