Go to Yahoo, Superpages.com et al. and do a search for a ‘business type’ and select your home county as the ‘geography’, you will get a message saying something like; “we are not able to find that location”. Not on Google Maps.
I used several different lines of business and used Bergen County NJ as the geographic modifier on G maps and got very good results. Here is a screen shot for Interior Decorator Bergen County NJ:
With the ability to produce results this good at the county level, it probably won’t take long for the local box to show up on Google.com for county searches the way it currently does for city searches.
Could this lead to Google dominating local search the way they dominate general search now? Could be… every article I ever read on local predicted functionality would be the key to taking over the fragmented industry… and this is functional.
If you have optimized your site for county search you might want to begin preparing now for the local box stealing your serps. To get acquainted with the local algo here is a great post from Small Business SEM and one from me earlier in the month Top 3 Spots in Google Maps.