From the Wired article you really should read:
(Last) Wednesday, Google retired a longer-standing “plus”: the + operator, a standard bit of syntax used to force words and phrases to appear in search results. The operator was part of Google since its launch in 1997 and built into every search engine since.
Of course I won't leave Google over this, but it does give me a reason to check out DuckDuckGo... (do you continue to use it, D'Arcy?)
Holy Crap, know what else they ditched? Google Labs! Apparently this was announced in July, but I was out of the country then and totally missed it! :-( Either follow my wayback machine link above, or troll through the painfully-slow-to-load pages at the CIO Magazine website to refresh your memory on all the goodness that once was...