I just wanted to use “radii” in a headline…
Mike Blumenthal tweeted yesterdat that he thought the radii of the Google map for various local queries had gotten smaller.
To me it seemed like the radii hadn’t changed much but the map pins had gotten bigger so I decided to compare the map that displayed for me a few months ago for “san francisco restaurants” v. what I see for that query today:
Of course this is just one query and GOOG changes things all of the time. This query also could be affected by ranking changes – GOOG may adjust the map radii based on the locations of the top ranked businesses.
If in fact the radii are getting smaller and the visuals are getting bigger, I am guessing that this has something to do with baking more user feedback into the ranking algo for certain queries (e.g. show results where people click/go the most) which also means that there may be more mobile search feedback being incorporated into the Web results. The bigger visuals might make the maps a bit more usable and perhaps point to the influence of alternative browsers such as the iPad where this might really make a difference.
Or they just could be screwing around with your radii.