Robert_Charlton - 6:03 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)
To correct some earlier comments I made about a distinction between Maps results and the organic serps...
...to appear in the organic listings (as opposed to the Map listings), from the results I've seen, anyway, a local business must have a website.
There are in fact organic-sized 7-pack listing for businesses or organizations with Place Pages only... so websites are not required. This also modifies my follow-up comment...
I don't see how Google could easily resolve the differences. In the Google Map listings, it's not necessary for local business to have websites... whereas in the organic listings, at least for now, it is.
That said, the big difference that does exist between Map results and serps is that Map results don't include organic results (like directories and Map-independent listings). Including such listings in Map results, I feel, would be even more confusing than the current "totally different, unexpected set of results" that jimbeetle described earlier.
Google Map results are often unexpected, but I don't know that the problem is that they're different from the organic serps. More problematic with Local results, I feel, is that you don't know why Google is showing you what they're showing you... and Google is in an awkward position of wanting to keep certain criteria secret to avoid manipulation.
In the case of Maps, it doesn't help the user experience. This may be increasingly true of attempts at personalization as Google moves along. I notice that Amazon (and Pandora) will tell you why they returned certain selections, and both give you feedback options. I can't imagine Google doing this.