It was just about one year ago that Google last upgraded the Local OneBox. At the time it led to a significant increase in Maps usage. It seems that an upgrade to the OneBox is or soon will be upon us. It was available all of last night and this morning and reports have come in from India and now the west coast. This change will have some impact on Google Maps traffic by increasing the inbound links to the maps area. A bigger change though is the impact it will have on bricks and mortar exposure and radically changing the nature and intensity of local search marketing tactics. You can read my thoughts on this change here , here and here
Here are some other reports from around the web on this change:
Google Local Business Results Expanded - Tim Cohn, Search Marketing Communications notes their appearance in Oklahoma
More Local Listings Live in Google? – Greg Sterling asks about the loss of the ratings
@Search Engines: How to Improve Your Local Search Interface – David Mihm, DavidMihm.com offers some interesting suggestions about improvements that Google might consider and issues that different users face.
Google Local Universal Search gets serious! Really serious. – Chris Thomas – Reseo Location: Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Google Maps Local OneBox reporting across the web by Mike Blumenthal