BillyS - 5:26 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)
They've given up on figuring out which websites actually answer the query and took the safe path of sending users to big brands.
If anything, I've seen the opposite for some of the informational queries that I watch. The top results for one query are:
1) An About.com page that's mostly adequate, though some of the information is a few years out of date.
2) An EMD page that's completely inadequate.
3) An official page that probably should rank at the top of the SERP.
4) A four-year-old magazine article that hasn't been updated.
I'm not sure I get the "just the opposite part." I would consider all four of these as likely big brands. I'm thinking at least 1 and possibly 4 are well branded websites.