Mike Blumenthal posted about a new SERP that Google is playing with for local results. This isn’t a Maps result but a Google.com result for a local query. I wasn’t able to reproduce it so I’ll show Mike’s screenshot.
Here’s the current page for “Dentist, Chicago”:
Here’s Mike’s annotated page showing the new elements, most prominent of which is the floating map on the right. In addition star ratings are visible (on the right) for each local listing.
Google is likely exposing selected people to this to watch CTRs etc. It’s uncertain whether this will roll out broadly.
The page surfaces more information so that the user doesn’t have to click to the Maps page to see things like reviews/ratings. One might see this experiment as consistent with the effort to surface more information on the top-level SERP generally.
While they’re at it, I’d like to see some experiments with this page too:
The map is “visual” and attractive but not always helpful in making choices among local businesses. In fact, much of the time it’s not at all helpful.
Back to the experimental page above. “Tag” ads, which are now rolling out now, would be de-emphasized (maybe rendered meaningless) in the SERP format Mike exposed. Their purpose is to “call out” the advertiser from within the 7-Pack. That, however, would no longer exist if the above page goes live.