Google has apparently removed phone numbers from the so-called 7 Pack of organic local results. The numbers were present as recently as 24-36 hours ago. Immediately below is an example of a recent search result for “dentist, San Francisco” (within the last several weeks) and then for the same query this morning:
The result on the bottom is cleaned up in terms of the ads presented (the screen above is a bit of a mess in that regard), but there are no phone numbers for the local organic listings. The user must click down to the Maps page below to get the numbers. Does the removal of numbers improve the user experience? Most people would probably answer “no” to that question.
Is Google trying to drive more clicks to Maps? Is Google trying to drive more calls to Local Listings advertisers?
Postscript by Matt McGee: Earlier today, a Google spokesperson offered this statement about the missing phone numbers: “For a few hours this morning phone numbers were not displayed as part of local universal search results on Google. This was a small bug, and we quickly fixed it.”