The Inside Search blog gives some more information about this move.
This new type of layout may appear on the search results page for a range of real-world places — restaurants, hotels, local businesses, landmarks, museums and more. Of course, the local information that appears will vary depending on what’s available online. So the next time you plan your visit to the New England Aquarium or Fenway Park, you might be able to check out their opening hours, get directions, and find the nearest transit stops, all from a simple Google search.
Google is once again playing with the local search formula but this time it is not including the place page. In fact, it is moving place page information to the main SERP rather than keeping it a click away in the place page. Does this mean that place pages are less important? That’s not likely. In fact, where place pages are most likely to be integrated into the Google ecosystem is ultimately through Google+. It’s the perfect place to give that kind of information in the place page format.
The idea of giving more information on the first page that you see in a search just makes more sense from a user’s perspective. What would be very interesting is if Google started to give one result this kind of treatment when a more general search is conducted. Imagine the power of being the “showcased” restaurant or destination when a more broad search is conducted like “italian restaurant raleigh, nc”. That kind of position in the SERP’s and the factors that would get someone there will make local SEO’s heads spin.
But for now this use of the SERP real estate for a direct search makes sense for all involved. After all, if someone is looking for specific information about a specific place why not present as much as you can in the SERP rather than making the searcher dig deeper?
So what’s your take? Do you like this kind of search result?