Google Places Gets a New Look
Google.com has released a new look for local Places search results. This upgrade sports a greatly enhanced right column that includes images below the map such as street view photographs, along with a variety of images for local searches. Details below the map organize and condense at-a-glance information. A search for a local restaurant pulls details such as prices, hours, transit, and menu, and lists them neatly under the map. More Reviews are placed below Details.
The new look substitutes a horizontal map for a vertical one on the right rail, allowing more ads to appear above the fold. Local results appear on the map as gray pushpins that become red when moused over. These updates all spell the end of any third party online review info being displayed on your Google Places Listing.
While some of these test features appear to be improvements on the current look of SERPs, the new horizontal-rectangle version of the map is one of the weaker points. The new map look seems small and out of proportion with the page dimensions. The company appears to be trying to find a compromise between a map big enough to indicate local information but proportioned to maximize valuable ad space.