rango - 12:32 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)
Here's another way of looking at things, a bit more from Google's perspective.
They are losing traffic and mindshare to the big go-to sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, Stack Overflow, Wikipedia, Kayak and so on. As people are becoming more internet savvy, they are developing brand loyalties beyond Google and people are starting to bypass it entirely. This is clearly not in Google's interest.
As a result, Google as a company has little choice but to start providing the same services as these sites. So they need to add their own knowledge graph (vs Wikipedia), their own hotel reviews (vs Tripadvisor), their own restaurant reviews (vs Yelp), their own flight search (vs Kayak) and so on.
From an SEO's point of view, this is a double edged sword. It tends to mean organic listings drop. But you have to also consider this - would you rather people go directly to Tripadvisor to search for their hotel or would you rather them go to Google? SEOs are actually not served well by an internet landscape that sees people bypassing search engines entirely. It's actually in our best interest for Google's results and tools to be better than what these big sites are providing. Even if organic results are half way down the page, it's still better for us if it means people will continue to search on Google.
Just a different point of view.