This is not a small change. This is a major source of irritation for many users.
There is no reason nor rational explanation to have two "News" links that do two separate things, no matter what "larger improvements" may be further down the line. You'll have to excuse me, but your version of the story sounds like the same kind of corporate BS every tech company spouts after they realized they screwed up. If indeed you are being honest, then it sounds like Google is telling users that the company's priorities supersede the user experience, and that we should be okay with this because Google is doing it for our own good — as if someday when we see a brilliant new "News" search we will thank you for this "small change." It's like you're saying, "If you only knew what we have in store..." Phbbbbt... It really feels like Google is telling users "tough s**t, your concerns don't matter because we've got our plan and we're sticking to it."
How long does Google intend to keep the top "News" tab crippled? When are these "larger improvements" supposed to be coming? Will the top "News" tab perform as expected — as it once did, and like all the other tabs — when these "larger improvements" come out?
And most importantly, why can't you just return it to the way it was — for yearrrrsssss — now, today, until these "larger improvements" come along???