Below you will see Google changes. How your business is found in search engines takes a new twist. This is not official news over the wire. The graphics below show how the Google Maps and Places are shifted to the right.
The more interesting observation is that the sponsored advertising is pushed below maps and as I searched for a new keyword, the paid search remained the same.
Watch how "restaurant Seattle" was searched after "plumber Seattle" and the sponsored ads remain the same.
First, search results for a business: "plumber Seattle".
Then searched for: "restaurant Seattle"
Refreshed screen for restaurant Seattle:
If you placed an advertisement in the newspaper in 1990, there were few choices for placement. The same was said for phone books, magazines, TV and radio. There was a method to overcome this obstacle to achieve success and it was: Money. If you spent more for a bigger advertisement, you gained more control over positioning.
It is difficult to believe that a business owner will not pay a price in some way to maintain high visibiity and have free placement in Google Places, on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps.
Relying on one source for sales and business will be risky as technology changes so dramatically.
Search engine results are affected by browsers with cookies, personalized search engine results and geography. This is not a good trend for those paying for the ads and we need to be on the lookout for more changes in the works.
Again, this is NOT new and is expected as all advertising media has changed the game over and over again.
I remember when a TV guide was half the size and when TV commercials were 2 minutes long instead of 15 seconds.
Stay aware. Test everything. Stay on your toes. I hope you are riding the tech wave and not becoming a victim of the tech wave.
P.S. It would be good to note that a retry of the "restaurant Seattle" did show paid searches for restaurants after about 15 to 20 minutes in the right column. There were no changes made to the Firefox browser. Hopefully, this was just a fluke.