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The argument that "it's a business" is weak and not very helpful.

Google makes its money from advertising, but in order for it to place ads it needs to serve relevant results; serving "tailored" results because they generate more clicks is short-sighted (well, that's the argument anyway). If people become so distrustful of Google that they stop using it, and use a combination of DDG or Wolfram Alpha for example, then there will be no more ads for Google to serve.

We're admittedly very far from this, but the fact that high-profile people such as PG start to complain about it publicly (and not just old anonymous grumps like me) should make Google think.

We'll see.

"It's a business" is a weak argument, but potentially a helpful one. Your optimal search experience generally won't line up with theirs. In retail, for example, there are all kinds of tricks used to keep customers in the store as long as possible without making the experience so unbearable that customers just won't come anymore. So if you go to the grocery store for some fruit and vegs and yogurt, you will need to visit opposite ends of the store, through the seasonal items and past racks of candy, because this apparently results in increased sales. If they were optimizing for you, they would have the basics near the entrance, and the Peeps and cinnamon brooms at the farthest corner. They might still have the best produce in town, but as they figure out how to wring more money out of their customers (on average), the experience becomes grating for some portion of their clientele.

>"in order for it to place ads it needs to serve relevant results;"

or Google could serve ads by developing a suite of web apps, or a mobile operating system, or a even a social networking site.

Google could even serve ads on other people's websites when people visit those websites without going through their search service.

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