I recently wrote about the changes observed in Google's local search product on the web over the course of a year. This year, Google has rolled out some changes to their web based experience that indicate some healthy experimentation with the local search UX.
The carousel presentation of local results brings a different dimension to the usual approach which is to integrate the local structured listings into the web page rankings.
A while back, Google converted their details pages for local entities into Google+ pages, and here there have been some design changes which incorporate an innovative approach to integrating the map with the other information about the entity. The map is used in the header as a background which hints and additional detail. The user can then scroll the page up (it is initially presented partially scrolled down) to reveal the full map. This is a nice solution to the problem of maps generally being square while document layout prefers to minimize vertical space.
Finally, on the map itself, Google has incorporated a number of presentation changes including using the map as the canvas with information layered on top (rather than side by side panes) and introducing a carousel at the bottom which, when moused over, shoots out a line to indicate the location mentioned. This latter feature I don't believe will survive - but is an indication of experimentation.
As an observer of Google's web based local search product, it appears that last year they were heads down on getting this fresh and coordinated set of features together.