Last night Google updated the search results you see in a query that has local intent to show three local businesses instead of seven. In the language of a local SEO expert, the 7-pack is now a 3-pack.
The local pack is not just showing fewer business listings, it is also redesigned to fit more with the mobile user interface.
Here is a picture of the new local pack, displaying only three results:
Here is a screen shot showing what the local results looked like last year:
Compare that to a zoomed-in view of the new look:
This obviously will lead to fewer phone calls and sales for those businesses that appeared in the fourth position or lower. But it might lead to more business for those in the first three results.
There are plenty of local SEO experts talking about this now, including Mike Blumenthal.
We emailed Google for a comment on this change and will follow up when we hear back.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson told us:
We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.