CainIV - 8:52 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
In order to remove some of these potential metrics, I think it is important to think like a search engine.
In order to determine relevance, freshness and potential value of a link Google needs to determine at a minimum:
Theme of Page upon which link is placed
Location of link on page
Context of link in copy
Metrics / value / authority of said page
Age of link in relation to copy on page
Paid implications of text (editorial, sponsored etc)
Number of outbound links on the page
Nature of link (direct, 301)
Google is trying to reduce false positives.
The largest false positive right now in my opinion is anchor text. Google relies on it heavily.
My personal feeling is that all of the other metrics above are required in order to understand relevancy and context.
Anchor text is the easiest piece of the link puzzle to manipulate so it would stand to reason they would want to eventually discount that signal entirely.
However, my devil's advocate half would ask why there has not been a large shift in rankings to reflect that change if it were indeed live.
Perhaps, if this is implemented, it would be done over time, in stages.