A few months ago, the WordPress plugin repository page was updated with a new design. Even though the page layout is better now, for whatever (ingenious) reason they took out the very important links to see the latest and newest plugins, and the most recently updated plugins.
Those 2 links are:
There is also an unofficial plugin directory – wpplugindirectory.org , but no new plugins are added for a month or so. It’s still a great place to search for free solutions.