Search optimizers and Google's "answer" strategy have made search links irrelevant.
Peter Yared is the CTO of CBS Interactive and was previously the founder and CEO of four e-commerce and marketing infrastructure companies. Peter's software has powered brands from Fidelity to Home Depot to Lady Gaga. Peter is the inventor of several patents on core Internet infrastructure, including federated single sign-on and dynamic data requests. Peter began programming games and utilities at age 10, and started his career developing systems for government agencies. Peter has written for VentureBeat, BusinessWeek, AdWeek, and InfoWorld.
Twitter and others are complaining that Google is throwing its massive 65 percent plus market share weight around and quashing smaller competitors. The reason Twitter and others are so threatened is that the pattern of shared links within Google+ provides a decent enough indicator as to what links are interesting. What's important is what's trending, and algorithms can get a sense of that with just a subset of everything that's getting shared on the Web.
The most interesting aspect of Google's move, however, is its tacit acknowledgement that its stalwart search links are largely irrelevant and might as well be replaced with social results. Google search results are essentially gamed results produced by search optimizers.
In other words, the search results that we supposedly value so highly are themselves paid placements, just like Google's keyword ads. It's just that in the case of search results, link owners have paid for SEO (search-engine optimization) to get Google's attention instead of paying for SEM (search engine marketing) to make Google give their links prominence. Either way, though, searches are mostly just producing ads by any other name.
In addition, Google's famed PageRank algorithm carries less and less weight these days, since fresh news and results inherently don't have as many inbound links as older content.
(If it helps, you can think of PageRank as a kind of paleo-social search--just one that moves way too slowly for the modern Web.)
As the screenshot to the right (click for a larger version) shows, ads and answers have started to push Google's quintessential search results below the fold into the netherworld of the Web. As it turns out, in many cases the actual "answers" to searches for airline flights or products are actually much more monetizable than ads.