I remember when Google added the news filter options to the top right of Google News. That happened in April 2007 and I've got screen grabs of before/after there.
Here's what we get today.
Google's prone to testing this sort of thing so it's always best to do a Google News search yourself and double check you're also seeing this - but, if you are, what do you think of this?
The good news is that we've not lost the ability to sort by date or by relevance. Those options have been moved to the left strip.
This is good news because I use the filter options all the time. When I'm really checking up on a story I want to know who broke the news first - and the date filter is vital for that.
If you're wearing your search engine optimisation hat then you'll also find it incredibly useful to see how relevant Google finds a relatively small sample set of well optimised sites chasing after a wide berth of keywords. The caveat, of course, is that Google News algorithmic SEO is very different from Google Web algorithmic SEO.
So, why did Google make the change? My hunch is that they're trying to standardise the concept of 'now filter your results' across their search engines. The "show options" link now available in Google Web and this presents web filter options on the left.
I'm not so sure when Google News did this. I think it's pretty darn new as I use Google News an awful lot but perhaps not so much in the last week or so due to being happily busy with a lot of work projects; none of which are Google News marketing related.