At the end of a year in which Google has introduced a range of new features, one expert has been asking whether these developments are harming the company's core business.

Writing for Search Engine Watch, Kristine Schachinger suggested that changes to the central site have had a negative effect on organic search results, as the company focuses on additions to elements such as its online shopping and pay per click services.

She expressed concern at the "ever-decreasing space of the organic result", noting that with all the new options, some queries now returned six or less of these, which she stated may harm smaller businesses.

Ms Schachinger added that the product has also become "steadily inferior while people are distracted by the shiny objects" that, although they looking good, do not actually help users find the answers they are searching for.

Similar concerns were raised earlier this month by Frank Watson, writing for the same site, who observed people could be overwhelmed by the wealth of information the service now offers.

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