Yup. Good ole google has a lot more fresh pages everywhere. Heck, some schmoe (I haven't been actually able to track down the source, yet) must have hot-linked into some search results off of my news feed as that page has been freshed most of the month and there's no link to it from anywhere on my site (you've got to type in the search term to get that page).
Then again, the pages that ARE freshed are not always the freshest on the site. I have a little "site of the week" award I set up for related web sites - people can apply for it, or most likely, I just pick a really good related site, give them the award and say, "You won our award, you don't NEED to do anything, but it'd be cool if you'd link back to us." Works well for both a bit of extra traffic and for PR trickle-up. Oddly, though, a site from last month keeps getting freshed, while the new stuff sits there waiting for the next crawl.
I've got an old post with 1 old reply on my message boards that gets freshed every couple of days. No one has touched it and there are usually 5-6 (it's a slow board, unfortunately) new posts a day, but they don't get crawled. Only thing I can think of is that an article I wrote that gets a fresh tag has a link to the forum post to try to stir up a little action in the boards (it failed miserably to spark action, but google seems to like it).
On average, my site gets anywhere from 5-50 new content rich, spiderable pages a day, all of which appear on the front page in the "newest updates/additions" listing. Google crawls and freshes that front page, but won't touch the new content pages. Yet, it goes back to that stale forum posting and the old SOTW Award page and rehits those.
MY OBSERVATION CONCLUSIONS:
The new fresh formula probably isn't that much different than before - they just lowered the PR requirements because they have increased their fresh crawl capabilities. (The FreshBot comes in on a whole different string of IP's than the deepcrawl bot). All of the pages seem to have at least one link from another fresh page (either a high PR DMOZ listing, or from another highly ranked and freshed page). I'm not sure the level, but it looks like the inbound PR needs to be 5, but it might be 6.
The "fresh database" seems to be seeded once a month, but there are at least two levels to it:
New "sites" seem to get freshed a lot more and new pages get crawled right away. Since I don't have a new site, it's hard for me to make observations, so I'll move onto what I can tell from my site...
Older, larger "sites" seem to get "seeded" during the main crawl. Freshed pages from last time have all the pages they link out to dumped into the mix. If the destination page has a high enough PR and changes in some way between two or more hits by the freshbot, that page gets freshed. That seeding seems to spread during the main crawl as it's the only way I can see how that forum post keeps getting freshed - my fresh page linked to it and my forum has high enough PR to get in.
There also seems to be a frequency factor. High PR pages that are freshed seem to get rehit every day. Lower PR pages only get hit once every 3-5 days and the fresh tag will sometimes expire before the new freshcrawl hits (though the cache content remains intact).
SPECULATION: Once the main crawl is over, the fresh database will keep freshing those pages so long as something (and not much, mind you, but something) keeps changing every day. By this time though, the "what's fresh" database is either a) locked in - (i.e. it's looking for the updates on the pages, not for new pages - except for brand new sites) or b) they tighten up the restrictions pretty tightly and will only hit new pages that meet this more strict criteria. (Either one of these would explain nicely why my brand new content doesn't even get looked at).
I tend to favor the "locked in" theory a) above, as I only seem to hear about new pages getting freshed by new sites, not by established sites. Granted there isn't a lot of evidence, so that's why I am only about 53% certain. Either theory works for what I've observed and there's also likely another half dozen theories that might equally serve.
Oh well, having never had fresh pages before, having 6 that are always fresh, and another 30 that glide in and out of the listing, my traffic from google has increased about 40% this month with no appreciative difference in format, content style, PR, depth of crawl or anything else.
That, my friends, doesn't suck.