Mat Honan at Gizmodo has a great overview of the “new” Google, its desperation to get you on Google+, its changing privacy policies and why it’s torn down the walls between its various services like YouTube and Gmail.
It a long read but totally worth it. It’s a good assessment of where the search giant is these days and how (and why) it got there:
This explains why Google has been driving privacy advocates crazy and polluting its search results. It explains why now, on the Google homepage, there’s a big ugly black bar across the top that reminds you of all its properties. It explains the glaring red box with the meaningless numbers that so desperately begs you to come see what’s happening in its anti-social network. It explains why Google is being a bully. It explains why Google broke search: Because to remain relevant it has to give real-world answers.
… Real-world answers like the kind folks are getting minute-by-minute on sites like Twitter and Facebook and the universe of smartphone apps that are closed off from Google’s webcrawlers.
That means more of your data hidden from Google’s servers, which need that data to show you relevant advertising — the core of its business.
So if you didn’t know it already, there’s a huge battle going by some very powerful companies that desperately want to know everything about you. Because on Google and Facebook, you are the product.