Proof that Google isn't a search company, it's an advertising company! I have had many times - to the point of tedium - that Google isn't out there to make your life easier, or to find things for you, it's there to make money. Aaron Harris, who is CEO of Tutorspree has done some really interesting number crunching. A search on the words 'auto mechanic' led to results that shows that only 13% of the page real estate was given to what are called 'organic results' - which is to say the pages that Google has found in its index that match the search term. 14% of the page was given over to the navigation bar, Google adwords take a whopping 29%, a Google map takes 7%. You can see his graphic below:
If you look at the results themselves the top one (as is so often the case) is a Wikipedia result, followed by 2 results from Yelp. It's rather different in my case because 'above the fold' I don't get any organic results at all:
To be fair, I'm not getting too much by the way of direct advertising, but I'd still question the validity of the content that I'm getting - especially if I want to know about auto mechanics! Indeed, it's worth making the point (which Aaron does as well) which is that the local results are 'local' as defined by Google. If I walked around the area physically, I can rest assured that I'll find many more auto mechanics than Google is showing me here. We'll increasingly see that when Google decides to do a local search for you (it chooses, obviously, you're just the searcher, so what do you know?) it's going to be full of results from Google+ local businesses. So Google is still making money without giving us a quality service in return. In fact, we're getting NO service in return.
I blogged a while ago that Google was playing around with limiting the number of search results that I was getting, and in January last year I also reported that my Google results page was ALL advertising! So unfortunately this doesn't come as any sort of surprise at all, merely as confirmation that Google intends to prostitute search results for as long as it possibly can, and if it thinks it can get away with giving us a second rate set or results, it most certainly will do.