John Battelle was on a panel at the recent Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in New York. Here’s an excerpt from his blog post–which I hope you will read in full [our emphasis]: Google’s brand promise – to be neutral, to be above monetary interest – is in conflict with, well, the rest of Google’s brand promise, to be a superstar stock, to grow faster than any company in the history of the world. And all of that is in conflict with …. Google’s brand promise, to get consumers to the best answer, fastest, regardless of who owns the content. Because…sometimes, that content is now owned by Google…Why when you search for stocks does Google Finance come first? Let’s be honest here. It’s not because some neutral algorithm chose Google Finance. It’s because Google owns that data. Google’s representative admitted as much on our panel today. And, given that, can one reasonably ask why, according to Comscore’s data, the preponderance of results that come up in Google’s universal search are YouTube? Might it be because they are they best results? Sure. Might it also be because Google owns YouTube, which is madly trying to monetize the second, third, and fourth click with new models that it hopes to heck are going to pay off?