FranticFish - 10:11 am on Nov 19, 2010 (gmt 0)
It all makes one wonder if Google even wants 3rd party sites in their vision of the future.
Agreed. If the business owner has provided (say) a menu, coupon, storefront photos, and you have the location, contact details and user reviews, do you need to go to the site?
Whilst I like the core ethos 'It's not what you say about yourself, it's what others say about you', the more Google folds into their own site the more they become a threat to business model after business model - and ultimately perhaps site owners themselves. The information there isn't bang up to date like a 'deal of the day' or 'latest news' would be on your own site.
As others have said, the fact that this is a bit of an unmoderated, algorithmic hotchpotch means that Yelp, Qype etc do provide a better experience - but will Joe Average notice/care? Don't think so.