I think their decision to artificially promote Google Plus pages above more relevant pages on competing social networks is the modern-day equivalent of the ’90s era search engines turning their homepages into “portals”. A search engine should be designed to send users quickly and accurately away to whatever sites on the Internet they’re looking for. The ’90s-era search engine portals blew this, because the whole portal idea was to keep users on their sites rather than send them away. This Google Plus integration is the same thing — an attempt to keep users on Google.com for another page view or two.
Exactly right. That’s what I meant when I wrote this a year ago. Google won search because they prioritized the best answer above anything else. They have crossed that line and it will hurt.