EditorialGuy - 6:23 pm on Jul 26, 2013 (gmt 0)
They've got an entrenched, established search market share that is happy to shift from organic clicking to ad clicking, and now they're just dialing up the ad clicks slowly but surely.
That's certainly working well with Google Shopping. As for the organic parts of the SERP, it's easy enough for Google to wean users away from "10 blue links" and toward AdWords for commercial searches: Just run more ads, pushing the organic results farther down on the page. Forget conspiracy theories about Google taking payola from Amazon and eBay or favoring brands because Eric Schmidt doesn't want to hear gripes from other CEOs on the golf course: There's no need for corruption of the organic results if the ads are more prominent, and if the ads are satisfying users' needs in the same way that Yellow Pages ads and classified newspaper ads did in the print era.
IMHO, the next frontier for Google is figuring out how to earn more revenue from informational searches. One solution might be to run display ads (typically used for branding and awareness-building) on informational SERPs, where CPC text ads (a.k.a. direct-response ads) are less useful to the searcher and less likely to be clicked. Google is already a major player in the display-ad business, after all--and relevant or behaviorally-targeted display ads on SERPs wouldn't be any more annoying than all the the "Universal Search" clutter that's being pushed down searchers' throats these days.