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Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information. In addition, you’ll find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page so you can switch to these results whenever you want.
See the linked article for a screenshot. What the static screenshot can't show is that the Map scrolls with the page, even covering the Adwords at times.
Mayer has notable public involvement with Google Search and Gmail, and can be considered significantly responsible for the success of these UIs. Fortune magazine lists her as one of the 50 most powerful women in the world and the youngest woman ever to make the list. She is credited with shaping the design of Google Maps, Google Earth, iGoogle, and more [en.wikipedia.org...]
Is Google's aim to have an inconsistant experience - nothing seems to stay the same for long these days.
And did anyone else notice that Adwords were pushed DOWN the page by the local map?
I think they have just linked your organic title and description to the places listing.
I've been seeing various results [for] certain kinds of geo searches... and hotels in particular... where it's appeared that Google is going in this direction, of returning some major directory-style sites, but increasingly being the über-directory itself. It goes a little bit with Google's not liking to return search results within search results.
I can see this organizational principle being applied to a huge range of queries, though, not just geo queries, and it would have seismic implications to e-commerce and directory-style sites if Google went much further in that direction.
I think that Google's branding algo is naturally pulling them this way... it appeared that Google was on the brink of sorting data differently.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:29 am (utc) on Oct 28, 2010]
Thoughts on the implications?