Google notes that it still prefers to use keywords that are identical to the search query, but the Exact Match close variations change is good news for less experienced AdWords advertisers. You will no longer have to spend time building a massive database of exact match keywords.
For more experienced advertisers the change may be slightly annoying as you will have to take a closer look at the search terms report to determine which keywords prompted click-through and conversions.
Negative keywords may also need refinement depending on the results once the changes are put in place.
Changes will roll out for English and Spanish soon, and other languages later this year.