Google announced a bunch of changes it made to its algorithm over the course of February, and some of those changes are more interesting than others.
So far, we've taken a closer look at the increased sensitivity of the Panda update, some location-based changes to YouTube suggestions, and the increased importance of image search optimization. Another very interesting entry to Google's list is:
Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
It would, of course, be helpful to know some more specifics about this method of link analysis, but that's probably one of those things that Google would rather play a bit closer to their chest than some of their other signals. Google can't have people going out and exploiting that information and gaming the results, now could they? That could be a big "bug" that could end up hurting that search quality they're trying so hard to maintain.
I'm sure there will be plenty of theories and speculation regarding how Google is analyzing links, just as there has been since the dawn of PageRank.
I doubt this new change will bring about any major findings in SEO, but it's interesting to know that such a change was made - one that removes something that Google has been using for "several years". One has to wonder if this will have a major impact on the PageRank of sites around the web.