Google has completely changed the world in almost every aspect. It made finding information extremely convenient and in some cases, made it possible to find information that would otherwise be not available to Joe Public. Alta Vista had a great search engine for their day, yet it was nowhere near as comprehensive as Google is today.
Google Search has never been perfect, but it was almost always the best way available at the time to find information quickly and that is reflected in their mission statement of "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". The tool to find that information was always made available with their web search engine, which for all intents and purposes, took over from where Alta Vista left off.
Now, almost 1 year after the release of their first Panda iteration, it seems like nothing is accessible nor is their core product (relative to previous years) useful. I find myself banging my head sometimes trying to find something in the search results which is useful to whatever I'm doing at the time and I feel like these search results are reminiscent of searching for something in the 90s. Except in the 90s, all search engines supported a very useful search operator (+). Using double quotes so often on this keyboard layout hurts my fingers and thumbs and it doesn't have the same function, but I digress.
Google has obviously conceded to the fact that search results are not as great as they claim them to be and have offered "Verbatim Search" as an answer to the people who actually know what they are looking for and don't require a machine to second guess their thoughts. But when somebody is looking for "widget cost in czech republic", no person can honestly say that it would mean "'FirstName' Price concert in Prague" or that it's useful to any searcher. A verbatim search of that obscured search term reminded me of something Alta Vista was spitting out when it was owned by Digital.
So which genius at Google came up with this wonderful idea to try and predict what you're thinking? No genius came up with it.
So what is Google's mission statement today? None of the events in the past couple of years seem to be about making information accessible and useful, but more about profits and increasing market share by a certain percentage every year. Any regular to the Google SEO forum has seen the complaints of many longtime WebmasterWorld users and Sgt_Kickaxe's thread [webmasterworld.com
] makes some very valid points about the contradictory nature of Google's new foundation (G+).
Has Google thrown its core business out the window in favour of a Facebook clone?