Sandip Dedhia from BlogsDNA for spotting this and also Vertical Leap noticed a bit later. It Google seems to be truncating the display URL in the search results to a single line. So I decided to test this and it is not always consistently true.
A search for iphone 3.0 os does truncate URLs longer than one line, here is a screen capture. Notice how Google adds ... to shorter the URL in the middle portion (not at the end).
It is very nice how they keep the keywords in the display URL and truncate the less keyword specific components of the URL, i.e. "article/166311."
But when I do a more complex search for site:cgi.ebay.com test, which I know has longer URLs, it seems like those display URLs act like the old way of how Google truncated URLs to two lines:
Notice the ... added to the end of the display URL.
Clearly, the site command search I conducted is more of an advanced search. But I don't think the URL truncating is based on search query but rather the URL structure. For example, if I search for Electrical Test Lead Set you will see two results that have long URLs. One is truncated to a single line and the eBay listing is only truncated to two lines:
Interesting to see how this works, don't you think?
Forum discussion at Search Engine Roundtable Forums.
Update: Google has updated us on Why Google May Shorten Your Long URL in the SERPs.