I'm amazed they would add this back, with so few people playing and all.
They took it away due to embarassment, they add it back with fewer people playing and an upcoming event about to cut huge numbers of players away? Makes no sense at all.
They actually never had it in. This is something they have been talking about getting in since Yoshi took over.
This is meant as an incentive for people to stay. Basically a way of telling people that they are trying to get the game back on track, and to show the functionality as they are developing it. Which has been the main reason (it definitely isn't directly financial) for them to keep the servers up. I for one believe that they (or at least some who are in the position to make decisions as SE) actually care about Final Fantasy, and are personally invested in the idea more so than the product. Things like this allow me to keep that belief alive.
But, I understand that people have lost faith, and either will need to see the completed product, or are totally disenfranchised with it and may never return. Either way, I am happy with what they are doing. As for the search, the funny part is, with all the stuff updated, I haven't had time to try it out yet. So many achievements to work on. Hopefully once I have more of the solo stuff sorted out, I can move on to partying, and get my Maat Cap 2.0.