The hack I posted does work Search - My Photo Gallery
As far as the messaging system if you are using it as there is a global switch to use it or not then you should get a PM. Likewise is your also in the new email system if you are also using the message system as well as email in your email settings set the message type to BOTH. Your users will get both an email and a PM.
No functionality was removed. You have turned it off I would suspect.