With regards to Google backlinks, if you have a Google account you can now see not only who links to you but what the links say if they are text links.
Simply go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/
and select "webmaster tools"
From here you can see the recently added links tab where you can look at who links to your site. This is a much more complete list of links than a regular "link:" query.
Also, just recently added is that you can now see the text found on the links.
Go to "Page Analysis" found in the Statistics tab and you will see not only text in your site's content but also the text found in the external links pointing to your site.
This is a very handy tool - not only to see who links to you but I'd imagine you could use it to more closely guage what links Google will consider as important, as well as how often they are updated in the "link:" query.