Google today listed changes it made to its algorithm in January. As previously discussed, the biggest takeaway from that (at least in my opinion) was an increased focus on freshness through not only updates to the "Freshness Update," but also through changes to universal search, which focus on the queries that deliver news results.
The company also addressed a recent Panda tweak:
High-quality sites algorithm improvements. [launch codenames “PPtl” and “Stitch”, project codename “Panda”] In 2011, we launched the Panda algorithm change, targeted at finding more high-quality sites. We improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines. We also released a minor update to refresh the data for Panda.
Google actually confirmed that this happened last week. Google reportedly said that there were no additional signals or actual changes to the algorithm, which would explain why there wasn't a whole lot of fuss made about it, compared to Panda updates of the past.
Of course, there has been much more fuss about Google's introduction of Search Plus Your World last month, which many have complained about with regards to its impact on Google search results relevancy.
Followers of the Panda saga may find this somewhat ironic, given that Google has spent nearly an entire year releasing Panda updates with the goal of improving search quality. Obviously this is not a goal Google is publicly backing away from, but some are questioning whether they're placing a little more priority on making Google+ successful.