The best metaphor is the Navigate function of Google Maps.
Not only does Google Maps know more about real-time traffic patterns than your primitive human senses can access, but it can also best crunch that real-time data into optimal route finding way better than your primitive human brain.
Extrapolate from there into all areas of human life. Not saying this extrapolation is technologically straightforward, but this is what is happening.
Google isn't the only one in this space obviously. IBM and medical decision making is another big example.
Computers can make better decisions than you can. Not yet, but soon.
A better example of a human decision would be, which "T-Shirt shall I buy?" or "What shall I have for dinner?". Google can't yet replace this decision making because it doesn't have flare. It can detect patterns and analyse them very well, but it can't be original. Yes, if you have Pizza for dinner every Tues then Google can tell you this, but if you do that every Tues then it's not really a 'decision' that Google is replacing, just highlighting a pattern. But until Google can read minds, or sense and analyse human hormones, it's not going to know if you would rather eat Indian or Mexican for dinner. It could suggest either, possibly based on previous eating habits, but it would just be a suggestion, and a guess at that.
As a further side-note, how does replacing human decision making translate into a business model?
Even when people choose these things well, it isn't because they are "original" but because they are attending to context, e.g.: an automatically generated t-shirt on Amazon referencing rape is not appropriate to wear in public, and if I eat pizza so often I may develop diabetes.
It's about what happens when privately controlled interests use computers to optimize human decisions solely for business purposes. I'm not quite sure what to think of it yet.
This "digital native" myth has got to end. I teach young children, and they ain't the technological whiz kids like the ones portrayed in media. I could see most of them clicking a Google ad at some point in their life.
If anything younger users are likely to see ads as a valid part of the Internet and not as a corruption of the old web they used to know, unlike grizzled fogies like us.
Yet the parents all watch in awe as their kid swipes their tablet to play Angry Birds or Candy Crush. And then they remark "Man, kids these days. Just give them a tablet, and they're already figuring out how to use them. Guess the younger generation's just better at computers. Better than I'll ever hope to be!"
I think it's more circumstance that has lead to this success: the right people working on the right project in the right time: Google is born. But now? It's more about survival in the long run, the way I look at it.
Well Apple makes more money than them, so while this observation will be trite, yes, it should be "possible" to make something as successful as their current business.
Uh no its not, I own a Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 both of which were designed by Google, sold on Google's online store and run an operating system developed by Google.
Android now has more users then iOS, it's foolish to say they are just now starting to diversify their business from online ads.