Normal on Output Texture Node: Is it broken?

I’ve been trying to get some practice with Texture and Material nodes, and while I’ve noticed the “normal” input on the Output texture node, I’ve never really investiaged it’s purpose. I figured I’d attempt to use it with a few normal maps to see the benefit versus essentially mapping the color to normal. But I ran into some issues. Can anyone tell me why this works:
But when I try to assign a normal output to a normal input nothing happens:

I’ve searched for documentation on the subject, but I can’t find any that actually mentions the purpose of the normal output of the texture node, so I can only assume it’s for normal mapping. Am I misusing this, or is there something wrong with the feature?