SevenCubed - 6:27 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
they have their eye on a far target in Local Search
Based on what I'm observing I think I can see what that far target is. I went and had a look at my client's Google Places listing and noticed that Google are now offering paid links, oops I mean Tags, but you can try it for free for 30 days, after that -- pay up or be lost in search results.
From what I've seen here locally, there are many sites that were previously buried in SERPs that are now showing up as a places link and they were definitely not organic results prior to this change.
Those local businesses will no doubt get more inquiries and when they realize where the sudden influx of business is coming from they will probably gladly pay the ransom Tag money (paid links) to Google to remain there.
Sad day for all the IT workers who have made sincere efforts to always do what was right. As of now, it looks like Google is becoming a paid placement directory for local results complimented with a splash of meaningful content buried deeper for those who will refuse to pay the ransom money.