DeeCee - 8:18 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)
Nothing wrong with products getting more intertwined. Nothing wrong with Google wanting to stay profitable neither.
The problem from a site owner perspective is partly that a search engine is essentially a content scraper. We deem it a "good scraper" because it supposedly pay us back with visitors.
But, as the article mentioned several times, Google spend more and more search-page space promoting their own products, showing an increasing number of ads, using Google preview (with our content and having us serve it up) to keep users AWAY from our sites as long as possible, and multiple other techniques like that.
Google is pushing hard against a line here, that can have several bad effects for them if they cross it
a) They might alienate more and more searchers, which opens opportunities for new search engines.
c) They are already blocking out content that are relevant to many users, opening more and more for Facebook and Twitter search.
b) If they cross the line from "good" to "bad" content scraper, they will eventually loose access to the web-site content that drives their search engine. If web-site owners start feeling that Google is more of a negative than the users they send our way can make up for, then Google will be blocked.
Between Facebook and other "closed environments" impeding Google, and site-owners getting increasingly annoyed with them, that leaves Google with only their "other businesses", but no search engine to drive users towards them.
Google may not be a mere search engine anymore, but it is still the central reason people find Google's sites to begin with. The thread that holds everything together.