Google is in a perfect position to put a grip lock on local search. Greg Sterling's thought provoking post offers in part;
"Google is really in the driver’s seat on many fronts right now. Turning to local, the company recently enhanced it's local one box presentation of results.
Google is not the best local application online by any means. (Yahoo! Local, Ask and Yelp, for example, are better.) It has taken some steps to improve the user experience but it could certainly do a great deal more (e.g., “sort by rating,” “click to compare businesses,” etc.). One wonders why not? Maybe Google is distracted by all the initiatives going on there, doesn't feel it needs to upgrade the application and/or doesn't want to threaten its partners too much.
Whatever the reason, the company is not doing all it could in local. But Google is probably now at the peak of its market dominance (I could be wrong of course). And with a few simple tweaks it could literally dominate local — verticals are different — because of its general search volumes.
There are also a range of things that Google could also do on the revenue side that it isn’t doing to attract more SMB advertisers. (Clearly a $3+ billion dollar quarter suggests there’s no urgency there.) Curiously it hasn’t (yet) done them either..."I'm with Greg, it's curious why there is not more innovation, more urgency. Big "G" is the aircraft carrier in the sea of search so they don't turn quickly but their labs turn out products like Code Search and other useful (and less useful) tools continuously. Why has local lagged? Why do I have a better local search experience on Local.com with all the goofy ad noise than I do with Google Maps?