The "recent announcement" gadget is also getting an upgrade today. You now have control over how much text is shown in the post summary. You can even show the full post content which is useful for putting a "word of the day" or "photo of the day" on the site home page. You can also configure the gadget to show a thumbnail of the first photo in the post.
Additionally, site owners now have more control over the search box (Manage site -> Site layout -> Configure search). It can be configured to search across multiple sites, making it easier to unify related sites. Businesses and schools using Google Apps can configure it to search across all sites in their domains, which is useful for an intranet site. External search providers can also be used such as a Custom Search Engine or a Google Search Appliance. (Learn more about search options.)
Posted by Russ Vrolyk, Software Engineer