Posted by Jennifer Hyla, Director, SEO Today, Google announced the release of what they are calling “carousel” to English US desktop users. This release effects local intent searches for very generic terms for restaurants, bars and other local intent keywords (i.e. pizza). When the carousel appears at the top of the SERP the traditional map pack with local results is not displayed. Carousel listings are technically not organic results, they link to a new SERP page when clicked. Because of this, a ranking is not assigned to your listing/location when appearing for a carousel result.
When doing a search for a more specific keyword or location the traditional map pack continues to appear with local listings.
Since carousel has only been rolled out to such a specific and generic set of queries it is hard to say how/if any impact this will have on the SERP. Performics believes this, however, emphasizes the importance of local SEO. With the addition of carousel, thumbnails images are even more valuable to local listings as Google will decide which thumbnail to choose from your Google+ Local page. We will continue to monitor the progress of carousel especially as/if it is rolled out to a larger local keyword set, and what types of effects it has on local listings.