Has the 10-pack become a 7-pack?

On Thursday, October 8th, something new started showing up on Google’s local blended SERPs:

What previously showed ten local listings now shows seven! Reports are that the 7-pack is showing for local queries in Canada and the United Kingdom.

It’s unclear whether this is a permanent change or simply something Google is playing with, but the fact that I am having trouble finding any 10-packs now suggests the former.

Some say that Google may be making space for its coming Local Listing Ads, while others believe Google is just cleaning up its interface, but the impact on those of us in the Local SEO game is substantial. A reduction in top page listings of 30% means we all need to work a bit harder to get the results we want.