Reno - 7:19 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)
Google's core business is advertising.
I totally agree. Once they had the IPO, their mandate was to consistently be profitable, and to whatever extent possible, exceed the expectations of the financial analysts. To keep the profits at the same level is acceptable (up to a point), but to see profits drop means the stock value drops, and major stockholders lose many millions of dollars. When that happens, phone calls are made. Heads roll. Ultimatums are issued. So yes, at this point quality search is only the public relations end of Google. The core mandate is to turn a profit by any means necessary, and that is not going to change. If by good fortune the profit level meets expectations, and the stock value rises, AND the search quality is enhanced, well, that's good news for everyone. But only the first two things really matter to the people holding the paper ~ they can live with diminished quality, but they cannot live with lower stock value ... and in the end, they call the shots. That's just the way it works ~ search is a product, as is sodas, cereals, detergent, or anything else.