Whitey - 7:36 am on Aug 29, 2013 (gmt 0)
I think this is a good move - at least Google is paying some time to the issue that has been raised for some time about brand bias in the SERP's.
The one thing Panda/other penalties have done in abundance is eliminate the resources, and often the confidence of many small business' necessary to reinvest in better UI/UX/content - I'm not sure this will address the business side of things. Google needs to become more responsive in rewarding efforts made by small webmasters trying to get back in the saddle; and more aware of how penalties effect small business' in the real World, that will not be able to remain sustainable when their primary channel for commerce is destroyed . Such a U turn in tolerance is to some degree Google's shared responsibility because it allowed it to occur, and by default encouraged it ( despite lip service / and guidelines )
I'd encourage Google to not only look at why some sites may be overlooked in rankings, but also look at how it can encourage small webmasters competing with the big boys, to play at an even level, if they make efforts, acknowledging how difficult it is to do that without even-handed support. Set some better guidelines for quality, and better responsiveness in rewarding it and allow sites to break through the brand bias. Somehow encourage, perhaps through WMT. It's not just about penalizing sites, if the web is to have a chance of new, vibrant life en-masse.
Closing thought ..... at least there are some efforts being communicated, and Google also deserves encouragement +1.