Last October, we merged our local search site with Google Maps. At that time, we thought it was most appropriate to name the integrated product "Google Local" to emphasize the broad searching capabilities of the site and that it was much more than an ordinary mapping site. But we underestimated how much people loved Google Maps. Many have continued to refer to the site by the previous name, and many have explicitly asked us to "bring back Google Maps." Since it's most important to us to give our users what they want, we've decided to change the name officially to Google Maps.

Does this mean that local search is no longer important to Google? Absolutely not! Google Maps continues to have the killer combination of maps, driving directions, and local business search. And local search has become a fundamental part of the Google search experience; it's now embedded within a number of our products, including Google web search, Google Earth, Google SMS, and Google Mobile.