I can't help but wonder if the timing on announcing these changes could be linked to Yahoo's victory dance last week. I have been testing out both products this morning, and I can tell you Google's is very good -- I'd say better than Yahoo.
The personalized homepage helps me find what interests me without clicking or searching anything -- the information it shows me is location-based so I can see things like movie listings and weather right on the main page. Yahoo requires at least three clicks to get my weather information and two to find movie times for my favorite theater.
When I actually want to search for something, the new algorithm can guess what kind of information I am looking for and show me relevant information rather than simply web results like before. Yahoo has a similar offering in their mobile product.
Overall, this new product will meet the need for most people wanting to search for something while on the go. I would say this is a drastic improvement over the version it replaced and could easily steal some users from Yahoo.