dataguy - 12:18 am on Jun 6, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've been invited to the googleplex every year since 2006 and I've been to their facilities in Mountain View At least once every year since 2008. I've even gone on a media tour with googlers as a representative of a "success story".
I can tell you that the advice that I've received during these interactions is completely disconnected with reality. I've received advice from my Adsense rep that is completely contradictory to the messages I've received in webmaster tools. I've been told my site is the best while being penalized for "breaking the guidelines."
My advice is to forget Google. Use them only when they benefit you. They are NOT your friend. They aren't even the friend of the typical web surfer.
I hope you have fun with your website, because fun may be all you have to fall back on while you figure out how to replace Google. Eventually the rest of the world will replace Google. That day cannot come too soon.