The video I watched today makes it seem kind of, er, "special". I mean yeah, it's "just" turn by turn directions (and voice) with Google's data, but... It's *with* Google's data. And its search technology. And that's huge. Watch the video: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=tGXK4jKN_jY&
As for whether this is scary, unfair, bad for competition, etc... well, the funny thing about Google's revenue model is everyone else can use it too.
No, seriously, everyone can make money off of ads, Google makes that possible. Now I know, having tried to run an ad-funded site myself (wasn't my idea, :p) that it's not that easy to make money. Google has a lot easier time because it's the hub, the ad provider and, in many cases (e.g. YouTube) also the content provider. Still, it's ads that get Google its money, and if ads are working for them, they can work for others. If they're not working for you, how are they working for Google? Find out and emulate. I know for my own site that it was in large part a lack of effort and applied intelligence that kept the money out of my pockets.
Google makes enough money in some areas to subsidize in others, e.g. making Google Voice, Gmail, Google Directions, and other services free. But what really enables them to do this is leveraging their powerful infrastructure and data store. Surprisingly enough Google makes a lot of this available to others through APIs and other methods. So the power is theoretically available to all for the taking, in some sense.
I won't say that Google does not have some unique and difficult to emulate advantages. But the same is true of almost any large corporation with money, at least in theory. They can always throw more resources at a problem. But quite honestly, if the solutions that come out of Google are consistently better (and, for the most part, they seem to be), I find it hard to complain too much. Google got where it is mostly by being good at everything it does. If that's no longer the reason for their success, or at least a big part of it, I must not be seeing it. If and when that ever does become true - Google continues to succeed while its products become vastly poorer than others in the market - then I'll have a lot more questions and concerns.