Google Places results without traditional listings

Chris Boudeaux and Adam Edwards are reporting that Google is testing search results with local listings only. In their case, a query for [car rental nyc] returned a new page format: the map on the right hand column with AdWords below it and a center column with more AdWords at the top, and nothing but Google Places listings below it.

All indications are that this is a very limited test at the moment and there’s no way of knowing whether it will become generally available. But the implications of such a change would be huge. For certain types of queries (i.e. those that tend to return the map today), traditional SEO efforts would no longer be of any value.

Only AdWords and Google Places listings would matter.

I doubt the screen capture the linked article shows reflects what Google would use in the long run, as it seems fairly clumsy. There are only 2.5 listings above the fold, with a great deal of wasted space.

But we certainly could see something like this in the near future.

Hat Tip to WebmasterWorld for pointing this out to me.