The possibility of changing your character's race was indicated at BlizzCon 2009, during one of the panels. But then the news about it really got hot when Faction changes were officially announced, because eagle-eyed players noticed the following damning question in the new program's FAQs: Can I use this service to change race on my existing faction? The answer was confirmation enough for most folks: No. We will be releasing a Race change service in the near future for this purpose.
But, this wouldn't be the first time a bit of miscommunication or other confusion has occurred. The final confirmation of upcoming race changes came today, confirmed by Neth again in an official forum thread. All she was actually doing there was referencing the original thread about Faction changes, which had already said Race changes were coming. The announcement even showed up on the official Warcraft Twitter account. So this isn't exactly a brand new thing. Still, it's nice to have it confirmed all over again.
Race changes, of course, subtly differ from Faction changes because you'll still stay Alliance if you're Alliance, or Horde if you're Horde. Race changes might be performed for aesthetic reasons -- you might just prefer the look of a sexy little gnome. Still, I bet most Race changes will be to get access to "better" racials. Especially if racials do get revamped in Cataclysm, a lot of players will see the grass a little greener on the other side. Every Man For Himself, anyone?