I'm happy to see the News icon too, but it's not working the way I'd hoped it would. I'd hoped it would search Google News for whatever I have in the search window. What it does, though, is just jump to Google News with nothing in the search box. The alt/title text banner on the News icon seems to confirm this is what was intended... "Navigate to the Google News site" instead of "Search the Google News site."
I'm guessing that making it search the News site would have complicated the phone home functioning.