turbocharged - 10:36 am on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
JS_Harris, while I would agree with everything that has been said about originality and a unique approach, it is not interpreted by Google that way IMO.
How scrapers can flagrantly steal and rank stolen content these days is a good indication of just how much Google values content. Post that stolen content on a Google owned property and it ranks even easier. Yes, one could argue that the site where the content was stolen from has some sort of penalty. But on the other hand, one could argue that if content is king why has Google allowed that king to be dethroned.
While I believe in providing value to end users, with each page I create, I don't believe Google looks at it that way. I believe Google looks closely at how they can monetize everything that we create and ranks these pages accordingly (along with other variables of course). In the case of information, Google retains more control over that content if it is hosted on one of their properties - quite possibly monetized with Adsense or at a very minimum with Analytics installed so they can collect data.
Quite simply, Google's algorithm is not a non-discriminatory piece of code. Artificial or manual boosts are given to their properties, "associates," and brands while a great deal of awesome content sits deep within the serps because it does not provide value to Google. End users on the other hand, may find it quite useful. But if Google stands nothing to gain from ranking such pages, its usefulness will never be known by end users and there is no damage done to Google's public perception.