Google has been `tickering` with results well before this.
Employees have openly talked about how Google analyzes the click patterns and preferences of its users when searching. This also happens with the Adwords program. Better performing Ad`s will move into higher positions for the same price. Thereby, choosing the best ad copy and keywords, can save your campaign a ton of money.
Better performing entries are upped in rank until they stop performing. They find an equilibrium for each entry based on a mix of their core system and now user opinion.
There will always be flaws, but the real system will prevail after they combat every flaw with a solution and continual update it as they always have been doing. This new methodology will definitely help smaller sites grow where they are deserved to grow in. Spammers and squatters will definitely become a thing of the past, it will just take some time.
Small Business Website Management and Marketing