Google has changed the name of the Google Local Business Center to Google Places (and added a few new features).
'Local' is one of the most lucrative advertising spaces on the Internet and Google isn't in moving quickly to monetize this space. Portals such as MSN are geo-targeting users whether or not they are signed in.
The new name apparently is designed to make it easier for companies to notice (and probably made shorter so than it can be included in menus such as the 'universal search' links on Google's main search page).
A new simplified URL is also now online at www.google.com/places.
Google is running ads on their own network announcing the new name and a new video explaining how it works can now be found on YouTube.