The difference between Google's old/current Local Search integration and the new model is staggering. In the old model local results were grouped together in an onebox style integration. They took up a lot of the eye space in the results and it was important to be there.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
The new system, however, simply blows that a way - you need to scroll down for a while before you encounter any natural web results. I also feel that the new integration places greater emphasis on the Google Review links.