Re: What is going on?
You are missing the point.
Google is a business and the plan to be ubiquitous has been met, years ago.
They do not need to be 'as good as they where', you have been programmed to think Google as a first choice for search so that objective is also met.
Now they are making money from the people/businesses who pay to be at the top of the search results.
People who pay such as the Estate Agents !!!
Now does it make sense. :)
You now need to learn how to filter the results to find what you really want.
[I am sure this is a niche for a product to 'filter Google Results' :) ]
The other option is if Google charge for pre-filtered search results on a subscription basis, so you can get results without the commercial dross at the top !!!
[Google you can thank me for the idea later :) ]