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this is really interesting. What People WANT and what they THINK they want are two different things...How people define and Perceive SEARCH and how they use search are two different things.

I think Google is facing a SELF-DEFEATING reality that as they serve people with better results, they erode the perception of their brand in peoples eyes.

There is clearly an incongruity between what people "THINK" they want from a search engine( and how they perceive Google) versus, what they "REALLY WANT" from a search engine.

Conflicting priorities are always a struggle, but this is an especially interesting one. One side has a DATA supported reality that can't be disputed about what searchers want and what puts bread on the table. On the other side is the more important, but less quantifiable reality that their BRAND is what brings searches back to the site, not the quality of the results, but the perception of GOOGLE and SEARCH being synonymous. This brand value is clearly getting diluted by delivering better results, and could in the long run be their demise.

This is more insightful than the article. The problem isn't optimizing for the "community" as the article seems to think. The problem really is that what people think they want and what they actually want are opposed. Facebook faces the same problem.

I think the unfortunate endgame here is legislation that will require what people think they want (e.g. privacy, absolute control) at the expense of some things they actually want (e.g. frictionless social interaction, simplicity).

(To forestall some argument: Yes, I realize that privacy/social interaction and control/simplicity are not always mutually exclusive. However, there are cases where they interfere with each other, which requires compromise.)

The problem with the approach Google is taking, the reason why I 'left': I felt that it became harder and harder to actually get what I want (using your caps: WANT). I know it. No, you don't know better. No, I didn't misspell that, no geolocation is a bad idea for results or - worse - language.

It's a mediocre service now. Became big with search, became worthless for searches for me. I cannot search anymore, I can play games with software that tries to second guess my intentions.

I almost wonder if SEARCH by definition can't and shouldn't be the end answer, but rather the journey to discovering new things and finding answers.

Google is assuming that when people search, they want answers, but maybe what they really want is to SEARCH for answers.

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