Google has removed the link to Places search. The link, which had been located in Google's "More" drop-down menu option, is no longer there, meaning local businesses can only be found via search (paid or organic), Google+ Local, or Google Maps.
Image via Understanding Google Maps & Local Search
Also, when Google shows a 7-pack of local results, there is no longer an option to see "More results near [location]". Why did this go? According to Google's Jade Wang:
"Thanks for your feedback about the small update to the local search user interface on Google. This is one of several updates we're working on to improve the local search experience, with the goal of more seamless exploration of places and more integration of local data. Stay tuned for more updates soon."
Under Search Tools, Google users can set their location setting. Generally Google auto-detects your location, but they aren't always perfect, so you can change to another city.
However, if you're ever hoping to see local results for a location outside your country, you're out of luck. Google now only lets you specificy a location within your country – so if you're in the U.S. on Google.com, you can't see local results for London, England – you'd have to use Google UK for that.
This is an interesting development, considering Google has pledged to label Places Search results, as well as link to three competitor sites in Europe, as shown in this illustration:
So it seems as though you check the box that says Google Places search is permanently closed. And it seems Google is working on a new local search experience, perhaps further pushing Google+ on businesses. What sort of updates do you expect to see next in local search from Google?