It's interesting to re-read the whole thread, especially EFV's comment on the quality of the idea...
As it turns out, the idea was indeed great (as everything that comes from Google these days), but it did not work as intended (in fact, it did not work at all).
If Google were honest and focused, they would admit that they are a two-trick pony (search and PPC advertising). All the other products/solutions/ideas neither attract substantial traffic nor bring in any money. I guess, it probably hurts too much to admit this.
Sidenote - yesterday evening was a report on German TV, featuring a Google employee that told the interviewer "that knowledge is power, and the more knowledge any given single person has, the more power that person has". I immediately thought about Adsense and the amount of information we as publishers receive from Google, and how powerful this information actually makes us. (Hint: We get next to no information, and we have actually next to no power at all.)