Well, let's see. And let's not limit to top three or four results (though research has shown it apparently sucks to be right after the pics/google products/places list section).
After wrestling with stupid google to give me google.com
images for Winston Churchill
Frankly, if I'm searching Winston Churchill, I'm incredibly likely to be searching for his biography, some dates, or possibly famous quotes. From the results, that's what most other people are looking for as well. How is this wrong? Why do I want small spammy retarded sites showing up here, possibly providing incorrect facts OR just copying from Wikipedia (which isn't the best source to copy from, but everyone still does it, which is silly and dangerous). I, as a searcher, absolutely do NOT care about "the little guy" when it comes to this kind of search. This is not a good example to use when wondering if the Internet is free. If this were China and government sponsored sites, then I'd worry, but so far as we know, this isn't the case.
en.wikipedia.org (either Dutch sites link to this one too, or because he was British... not sure, but this doesn't happen with, say, names of garden plants)
images of Winston Churchill (text in Dutch tho of course)
wereldoorlog1418.nl (wereldoorlog is world war)
I agree, Winston Churchill+other famous historical figures is a poor search term set for trying to determine if certain sites are always ranking and if so, are they ranking because of back-room deals (speaking specifically of Panda, are these small content-thin spammy imitation sites? No). I would expect less commercialisation of biographies than, say, stuff people buy.
For filter bubble checking, typing in a set of political terms across the world/machines is probably more likely to show differences that matter. Try a country name, a political party name, and then maybe a known political topic (immigration for example). Would a conservative be served up more conservative news sources? Would a left-winger be served more left-wing sources?
For corporate checking, I would have a set of words associated with maybe a type of product (where there should be several vendors). Like, "garden hoses", "netbooks and laptops", "pack dry-erase markers".
Are the results all big shopping systems/companies? Yes.
(last one "pack dry-erase markers", google.com but from the Netherlands)
megabloks.com again (different product number it seems)
shopping results with three google products somethings
staples.com (this one has the brand name "Crayola" in its title)
michaels.com (this one has the brand name "Creatology" in its title)
discountofficeitems.com (this one has the brand name "Expo" in its title)
drimark.com (own brand)
I'm not sure if even most of these sites have brick and mortar here in the Netherlands, nor am I sure if I am getting more British results than someone in North America. I also don't know if these sites even ship from their e-commerce platforms to the Netherlands.
But I don't see this as something to do with Panda. Where we might see Panda results is in the areas that are constantly hit with low-content spam (scrapers/spinners) or the fraudulent sites like fake brand name whatevers.
MrSavage is wondering if the Little Guy is getting squeezed out of results by Big Commercial Guys. Well, yes. Unlike the telephone book, only the ones used the most/sought the most/talked-about the most get shown. Though I remember the old trick to search optimisation: starting your business name with "a" (where all the Acme stuff came from likely).
While I too have some sense of alarm as far as, when searching for, say, products, only so many certain suppliers show up in results, which creates homoginisation (which has pros and cons). Using other search engines would not really solve this issue, since large companies have large budgets and they ship in more places, offer more stuff, and are considered Trustworthy.
I am not a Google-dependent business owner like he is so I don't have fears deeper than that.
But on the other hand, suppose that's what 90% of users want? They want the product they looked for from a trustworthy, large site. Maybe SEs can offer an option for those who know they want something different (a button called "show me more awesome" or something). Or users will start using non-retarded search terms? Adding stuff like "organic" to their foods, "slave-free" to their chocolate, "area name" for local choices? "reviews [area name] garage [vehicle brand name]"?