Google could use a lot of improvements, the new search engine on the block Bing is worse than Google is. Other search engines like Ask.com just have too many ads. As a maintainer of a website about growing taller, I want to see good websites like mine get as high as possible(plus other legit sites) whereas made for adsense, made for affiliate sales, and made for aweber list building sites should go down(also Wikipedia).
1. The high relevance that Google gives to a sites url. If I'm looking for information using the keyword wine accessories and I cared what the url was then I would just type in www dot wineaccessories dot com. It provides no value to businesses because the first thing I would try when looking for a business is name of the business dot com. Favoring the url provides no value to the searcher as that's something a searcher can easily do on his own.
2. The tendency of Google to slap down Made for Adsense sites but not nerf other Internet Marketer "thin" websites. Why reduce the number Made for Adsense sites clogging up the search engine results and not a page just offering a free e-book so they get my email for their list, a membership site with lackluster scraped info, or someone selling an e-book or an affiliate product that doesn't work?
3. Google's tendency to love Wikipedia, YouTube, and About.com. All three have their own search engines. If I wanted information from those sites I would just use those sites search engines. When I'm doing a search I don't want just what's considered the common sense opinion I want detailed information from a dedicated maven in the field.
4. Google's tendency not to display results from Pubmed. Pubmed.com could use improvements in the search engine engine department. I get a lot of irrelevant info. I could use Google's help with Pubmed.com but a lot of times the search engine results will just present About.com, Wikipedia, or an Internet Marketer's site pop up. The bottom line is that About.com and Wikipedia don't present cutting edge info. Google's algorithm needs to find a way to present more Pubmed info.
Take a look at the search results for weight loss. The results are what I'd call soft results. They tell you all the info that you've already heard before. They don't present more advanced and sophisticated opinions. One reason is that soft sites tend to generate more back links whereas more revolutionary sites like pubmed don't.
5. Google's primary goal is to help online shoppers. Why does Google take down Made for Adsense sites and not other thin sites? It makes Google look like it's only interested in improving it's bottom line by cutting out the Internet Marketer middle man. Google is in many ways like an Internet Marketer who wants to increase it's click thru rate. Google wants people to click out and go to the sponsored links section. Google will give you tons of information if you want to buy something but if you want to find information Google will present you with Wikipedia and sites with the keyword in the url in it's search results. It makes Google like biased when they flag high money niches like Payday Loans or Mortgages as spam but they let thin sites in other niches go.
Google doesn't give less popular niches as much attention as the money ones.
6. Google doesn't give enough weight to forum links. What do people do when they find inadequacies in Google's search engine? They go to a forum and ask people what the best sites are. Thankfully Google manages to show us what these forums are. People in forums are usually unbiased. Internet Marketers who spam links are banned but legit experts in a niche are allowed to post the link in their signature. What Google needs to do is give weight to links from people who have a high post count(and also are long time members of the forum to avoid spamming). People in forums say hey this link is cool and forums users tend to be highly knowledgeable about their respective fields.
7. Google gives too much weight to back links. The back link system would be fine if people didn't know it was important but there's really no incentive to link to other sites in your niche as they are viewed as competition. If a sites content is good, then why wouldn't you rewrite it(not spin it, rewrite it)? The only reason to link to the site if a site has a sense of legitimacy. For example, if your selling a book and New York Times gives a positive review of your book you're going to give a link to the New York Times. There's no reason to rewrite content like that. This forces people to build their own links. Most people who are not in tech savvy niches spread good content by word of mouth, forum recommendations, and by IMing their friends about. Most people don't give contextual links in their Blog.
8. Google doesn't consider synonyms enough. If I type in fat loss and adipose tissue loss I get two entirely different search engine pages even if they mean the same thing. Yes, their are some circumstances like if their was a band called fat then it shouldn't come up in searches for adipose tissue. But still, Google shouldn't have wildly different SERP's for make money online and earn cash online.
9. Google discounts paid links. Technically, all links are paid. You just don't pay cash for your links, you pay with content. In most paid link sites, you still have to provide content for the link your link is just in a better location than it would be otherwise. For example, owning your own domain rather than having a blogger blog gives you more link juice to send out to your friends. And how do you get that domain? Cash. The new trend in link building is guest posting on word press blogs. I'd rather people just be able to buy links rather than reading tons and tons of rehashed info.
10. Google sets it's shopping first precedent to other websites. I've seen commercials for Bing that advertise it as being good for finding restaurants but none about being good for information. Google has set a bad precedent with it's sponsored links model where there's sponsored links even for informational keywords. Sometimes these sponsored links are irrelevant to the searchers query. Bing has sponsored links as well in even greater quantities than Google. Sponsored links can be used to deliver value to the user but sometimes they detract from the search engine experience.
Google needed to present a message that search engines are good for finding information and not that they are good for shopping. Shopping can be done at any store in town.