I have a hard time believing Google's main priority is its flag ship product - organic search. With the constant playing it now does; pushing sites up and down on what appear to be whims - we know that is not the case but the reasons at times seem lame.
For example, this latest #6 drop which has older sites that do not have any recently added inbound links dropped about 6 positions. I can understand that top references should be adding links constantly and thus no recent inbound links would suggest these once authoritative sites have lost their edge. But is it not possible that they have saturated their space and people do not link to them anymore as they have already or know everyone else has.
When a newbie finds a site from one link and then see it on a lot of other sites they visit, they are not going to link to it as they see it as the industry standard that everyone knows. They would look for some more obscure but interesting site to link to so it shows they have done some work in the space and am contributing maybe not the best site but one of interest that many have not seen (or so they may think).
What I do see Google spending a lot of time on is changing AdWords to improve their income. Grabbing up other companies in the overall online world. Analytics - hey here is another market we can dominate by giving away the product until everyone is gone; wifi - we have money lets buy the spectrum to monopolize the growing popularity....
The list goes on and on of new ventures Google is working. And to make sure the gloss does not fall from the rose they have spin doctors at every step.
Matt I love you - know you are intelligent, witty and a cat lover - but you are the King of Spin - note I did not spell that Sphinn.....
Michael Gray was on to something at that infamous Paid Links Are Evil panel - people seem to allow the front runners to set the rules... this is true of business as well as politics.
Google is not the FCC - but maybe the FCC should pay a little more attention to what Google is doing. When the Hunt brothers tried to monopolize the silver industry last century the government stepped in. Antitrust has been a hurdle for Bill Gates' expansion of Microsoft - yet no one said anything about Google's actions in the analytics space - and the DoubleClick deal got approved with no real pain.
Guess when the company is popular in this era of mass communication many people are intimidated to say anything against them as the public backlash could be huge.
Stop playing with YouTube, stop buying up more industries, stop trying to save the world and go back to what it was that got all this money and power... good leading edge organic search.