Yesterday, at Search Engine Land, I reported that Google Adds Local Reviews In Search Results. In reality, they were there in the past, but Google made them bigger and added reviews. When I reported it yesterday, I noted that pizza 10010 returned three local results with reviews. Now when I search for the same thing, I get the same three results, but no reviews.
Here is a side by side:
The image on the left was a screen capture from yesterday, notice the stars, showing the reviews. The image on the right is from just now, no stars, no reviews. I wonder why it is not returning reviews now.
In any event, this is important, because (1) it takes up a huge amount of screen real estate, (2) there can be user reviews on your listing. So you want to make sure you are in Google Local and that you have good reviews. More tips on that here.
I also covered the other engines and how they handle local searches at their main search engine. But Gary Price also has a good review of other local search services.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.