turbocharged - 1:35 am on Oct 10, 2013 (gmt 0)
The real value of Google was finding sites you didn't know about
I completely agree. I got tired of searching Google for products because each query left me thinking duh, I knew that. For all intensive purposes, Google's search results are so narrowly focused on big brands that I would consider their search results thin. Google's product search is even worse now that paid entry is required. With the holidays approaching, I can tell you one place where my online shopping will not originate at - Google.
I don't know if I would chalk these ranking problems up as being mostly Penguin related, but rather a public display of defeat to the spammers. When Google lost control of the search results, engineers hit the panic button and shot brands straight to the top and are keeping them there. It's safer and easier for them this way. With the dial cranked that high on brands, few small businesses and spammers can overcome a lack of these signals. Of course everything Google does is profit driven, but I'll cut them a little slack by saying all businesses exist to profit. However, few businesses can sway entire industries as Google can. That gives them a greater responsibility to be fair, and the serps don't show a lot of fairness to me.