Swanson - 10:58 pm on Jul 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
In local and in verticals where Google has it's own sites then the classic "organic search results" are gradually evolving into Google sites results with a token amount of non-google organic results.
I don't think it is anything to do with Panda - but the observation is valid.
If Google really is maintaining the "organizing the worlds information" then I think this stance really is at odds. Inserting 10 local links to Google Places is not doing that - it has a commercial intent of sending the user to Google owned content. Just like Google+ and Youtube, Google Images and Google News insertions in the SERPS.
It is clearly an intent to become a center-point of information by using it's own SERPS to drive traffic to it's own content. That is happening every month by stealth - adding more and more links to own content or features and displacing classic organic results.
They will hit a limit where it just can't be done any more as it doesn't offer enough choice for the user. But that limit is directly proportional to how successful Facebook and others are at grabbing users from it's user base and how fast Google loses search users.
Google is now going for the land grab - and fast.