There are obviously a lot of goals in the mix here, but we do believe that Google is making these changes primarily to provide a better mobile experience for searchers, and give people exactly what they want. That said though, they are also in it to make money. Being able to easily surface apps in a search result will help them drive more and better app development for Google Play and monetize their other content like TV shows, books, magazines, movies, and music—all of which have been threatened recently by competitors like Hulu, Amazon, and of course iOS App Store and iTunes.
Google has been encouraging publishers to include transcripts with videos and song lyrics with songs. In the long run, those will help Google scrape and show those things in answer boxes, as shown at the right, but eventually they will probably also surface their own version of the content from Google Play, with links just below the answer box, so that you can watch the video or download the song directly to your phone on Google Play. When you think about Google’s intentions on this front, and try to envision the future, it is important to note that Google is actually already offering Google Play for iOS, which currently just provides the Google Music cloud-storage and a music subscription model. We expect this to expand as well, so that Google can expand their level of competitiveness here too.