goodroi - 2:02 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)
When Google says it is "turning off a method of link analysis" it means they are turning off one part of their massive link analysis formula. It does not mean links are no longer a significant ingredient in the ranking formula.
One specific example of Google devaluing a method of link analysis is how they have been decreasing the importance of PageRank. Ten years ago a PR8 link hidden in a footer from an off-topic site could boost you to number one. That is no longer the case. Today, blindly chasing links based solely on toolbar PageRank does not work very well. Now Google tends to reward much more greatly the links that are coming from very relevant websites and driving traffic.