If you use Google to find places out there in the real world a lot, you'll be happy to note that the company has made some small changes to the way that they present local searches.

Now, searches for "Ethiopian food, Washington, D.C." actually return a list of restaurants with single, definite pages. In the past, the results were a little sloppier. Some suggest this could hurt the local review site, Yelp.

But here's the thing about place-based searching: I want to be able to limit the geography in which I'm looking. If I search for Ethiopian food in D.C., there are dozens of places. I want to zoom the map in to just my neighborhood (Shaw near Howard University, FWIW). This is what Yelp.com does -- and it's the only thing that keeps me going back to that site.

Update: My oversight is your good news! As Jackie Bavaro, Google Place Search's Product Manager points out below, you can get that Yelp-like functionality by clicking on the map. So, it's just on the Places page itself that the map is static. 

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