A search engine’s traditional role is to point to content, not to host content. Google’s moves into the content space threaten that contract. It (as well as Bing) is now trying to provide “direct answers” in addition to outbound links. Yes, providing a direct answer to 2+2 makes a lot of sense. Providing commonly known facts can, too.
But what happens when the best “answer” to a search for a song or a TV show is selling that content? Do we find our search results at Google propelling us to Google Play with the direct answer explanation being trotted out? If so, it sucks to be Apple or Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon, what if Google wanted to buy it? After all, wouldn’t owning a major merchant better help Google with its new mission of providing services that let you get stuff done?
How about buying a publication like the New York Times, something Google dismissed in the past? If you’ve got news publishers as in Germany pushing a law requiring you to pay for linking to them, maybe the better “answer” and solution is to just own a news publisher yourself?
Arguments that Google isn’t being fair to other search engines have been laughable to me because it’s fairly absurd for a search engine to point to other search engines. But the primary job of search engines has been to point to destinations. As Google turns more and more into a destination, the fairness of its search results gets opened more and more to question.