I really like the article written by Chris Linnett at Search Engine Land entitled Just Imagine: Local Search Without Maps.
He really gets down to the core on local search. “Local search is about decision making.” says Chris. He goes on to say that maps are good and useful but when doing a local search you do not always need a map. He also feels that some of the page taken up by a map, could serve a better purpose, such as focusing more on the product or server. It is a very interesting idea and it will be interesting if the search engines ever do something like this.