As it flicks everything over to the G+ family, Google has rebranded what was Google Places into Google+ Local. This local business feature has just got a lot more powerful with the exciting yet inevitable progression towards the interaction of other Google products. It will create a complete circle of social, local and mobile interaction.
Google has been plugging their G+ social profile in an effort to catch-up and ride the social wave that is encompassing and driving interaction online. This includes both personal and business profiles. They are also running Google offers (still in beta) exclusively within the US as a way to get deals at the best places to eat, shop, and play locally. The talk is a Google+ events feature linked to their calendar feature is due out soon, and of course the new Google+ Local. The Google+ social circle is growing and fundamentally underpinning all their other associated products.
A Google Place listing in its old format was a mechanism for achieving relatively quick high ranking search results for your business relating to local business search queries. This little red pin listing would be highlighted on prime page locations within the SERPs and sometimes referenced in a map on the right hand side. It was as easily accessible within the Google Maps and Places interface and offered great exposure for business and brand recognition. It also pinpointed searchers and potential customers to your physical business location.