In simple but still dramatic fashion, Google has upgraded browser based local search on mobile handsets. It has also tied Maps on the PC to mobile in a very effective way. And recognizing the limitations of keying in queries into a search box on a mobile handset, Google has taken a page from its Places Directory Android app and incorporated search/browse by category (with location awareness).
These changes don't appear to be major at first blush, but they are and make Google's browser-based local search on mobile devices much more formidable than it was yesterday.
This is also Google acting on its philosophical position that most activity in mobile will ultimately happen through the browser and not via apps. Accordingly these changes enable Google to provide a uniform, cross-platform experience on a wide range of mobile devices . . .