Google has added to Local and has made a fantastic small business marketing tool even better. Google local is terribly underutilized even though it is really where a potential customer enters into the conversion funnel for a brick and mortar store.
I assume Google is opening this additional analytics data so it can encourage small business owners to help develop their search results. It's a win for both - especially for the small business that needs to promote themselves with little advertising budget.
For the small business owner you boost your keywords and content in the Google system, and then get more information in return on topics such as zip codes which are requesting the most driving directions to your location. Maybe that won't be a surprise...but maybe it will be if, for instance, in Ashland, OR you see many searches for your restaurant or hotel are coming from San Franciso. You can tailor a page or offer directly to SanFran customers using this knowledge. Make it easy for them - as in: "Driving from San Francisco? We're easy to find, and we'll help with the vacation expenses...as for our 10% discount"