Here's what I know since this new update:
1. For industries that have a parent company and then thousands of distributors, simple XML imports now work again. IE, up until Mayday and whatever they release recently if you simply were one of 1,000 posting the straight feed provided by the vendor you were hit with the duplicate content filter and dismissed. It now works again to setup a new site www.thebrandinquestionstuff.com and post an xml file...Google will rank you #1 in many cases even though 5,000 other sites have the same exact text. Typing in descriptions written by real people - forget the waste of time.
2. Huge stores win, period. Amazon and the rest will dominate all other things equal. They have more pages, are more important, pay bigger dollars to advertising and win.
3. Adwords is a joke. Trying to setup ads for the long tail we lost...cannot do it. "not enough search volume" and those keywords are deactivated. Are you shi**ing me? I can't buy keywords until they are more competitive? What Google wants is everyone paying $8 a click for generic terms clicked on by competitors that generate crap traffic. They don't want us being able to buy terms that will actually make us, AND them money. They broke up Microsoft for developing an unbeatable (at the time) OS, yet millions of us must buy advertisements where we don't know who we're bidding against, what they are willing to pay, or what the real value of the bids are. I have a real hard time believing our smaller competitors are willing to pay $13 a click on a $100 order when there's only $20 in profit if all 100% ordered but that's what Adwords would have me believe. Odd.
4. Google instant has nothing to do with user friendliness, it's all about impressions and driving people to key terms via Adwords.
5. Paid text ads win. Period. Buy quality text ads or lose. I'm not sure I really have a problem with this, but it seems pretty clear from our own analytics that one competitor buying one high PR text link can demolish traffic within a few weeks.
6. Keyword domains paid for by companies that freely disclose they are mirrors - win. Plain and simple, this filter has been turned down. For the few hundred bucks it costs to setup a domain for www.brandabcdefgstuff.com and populate it with a simple XML file from your distributors - it works. We're knocked out repeatedly on less competitive terms by the 3rd, 4th, sometimes tenth site run by competitors and the funny thing is they've outed themselves by freely declaring they are all from the same source via header or footer links. They may have the same product listed under 5 different keyword combos on a single site, and have it listed on ten of their sites, but they will still hog up to 40% of the top 10 results. It's a big joke.
So if I follow the instructions of the spam guru from Google and maintain one site, don't buy text ads, and only create a single page for each product I will go bankrupt as everyone else cheats. Of course I can pay $13 a click for a product that costs $6 and "win" that way. In our industry only about 30% of all pages are being indexed and what's happening is the category pages win. It's a terrible user experience, a thousand times worse than pre-caffeine/mayday. I have no idea what they are doing.
Oh, and I forgot # 7, "sites that may harm my computer" is a badge of honor and may get you a top 3 result in the new google. Astounding. They know it's malware, but still rank it high.