Thereby showing what it's worth when someone from tech support assures someone of "definitive" information. :P Not worth the paper it's not printed upon.
The 180 upon published information by just changing the description online without any kind of an announcement/acknowledgement of the issue is pretty pathetic behavior, though, and is making me wonder.. because upon reflection, it's pretty much what I expected. And yet If it were MS or Apple, for instance, for all their faults, I would be quite surprised by that. So I'm left wondering whether this has actually lowered my opinion of Google, or if my opinion was in fact already rather low to begin with.
I guess the next bit of discovery will be whether it's just the 5v connection that's missing and at least the other connections needed for host communication are still present, leaving open the -- awkward and crappy, but perhaps still useful for some purposes -- option of a connection with a peripheral powered by a Y cable.
[Edit: Oops, upon consideration, since MTP etc. are available, I guess the data connections needed must be present, since host & device mode both use the same data connections (at least I'm certain of that for full speed, pretty sure is the same for high speed also). So I guess in principle it must be doable, as others have suggested.]
What's sort of funny is that even developers implementing features using USB host on Android will be forced to use a ramshackle setup like that, if they are doing their development on the new "flagship" development phone by Google. Well, "funny" in a sad, pathetic way, anyway.