While you discover the latest major Google search changes, you may notice the big push to show local-ish organic results for your searches. If you aren’t sure, manipulate your IP address to be around a nearby city you know, search for something commercial “brand coffee machine”, and watch the results change to include stores around there.
It’s a bit early to say Google Local / Google My Business failed… I’ll wait until turn it into MyGoogleMapsPlaceListing (also expected to go pay-for-inclusion) before I say that.
Why the shift to promoting regional/local “organic” listings in the search results? So those can be transitioned to paid inclusion, of course. This is the warm up, during which Google can prove out the listings values, establish the basis of the future paid inclusion program, and set everything into place while adjusting user behavior and expectations.
Cherry on the cake? Google will offer SEO services, as well.
Analysis of potential regulatory actions, the competition from Amazon, the likely outcomes of various PR battles and internal conflicts within Google all point towards a future with paid inclusion that may or may not be clearly marked. This is the preface to get used to it, collected data, and develop the business.
Is it “advertising”? Is it regulated by advertising laws? LOL.. I am not a lawyer.