EditorialGuy - 2:42 pm on Jul 6, 2013 (gmt 0)
They were before they started trying to turn every informational query into a transactional one.
I've wondered about that. When I search on a keyphrase that could be either transactional or informational, I often see results that are biased toward e-commerce. IMHO, it would make a lot more sense for Google to be biased toward informational results in such situations, partly because of Google's stated mission ("to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible") and partly because e-commerce vendors would then have a greater incentive to buy ads.
Still, I'd guess that what appears to be a bias toward transactional has less to do with Google's philosophy than it does with the types of sites that are spending big bucks on SEO (including purchased links).