Google launches Hotpot, designed to give local recommendations from your friends

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Google is getting a very definite sense of place.

With Marissa Mayer newly charged with its local and location strategy, it’s rolling out one service after another that gives users information based on where they are.

Hotpot is the latest. Think of it as a personal recommendation engine that shows you ratings and reviews from Google Places and more personal reviews from your friends about restaurants, shops, theaters or museums. It also recommends places based on how you have rated other places.


The service comes just weeks after Facebook started a service to make it easier for people to find deals at nearby businesses through their mobile phones.

‘We’re making local search results for places on Google more personal, relevant and trustworthy,’ product manager Lior Ron said in a blog post. ‘When you rate places you like, we’ll tell you about other related places you’ll love.’

If that sounds familiar, there’s a good reason: This is what Yelp does. Google almost bought Yelp, as you may recall. Now Yelp integrates with Facebook to let you know what places your friends like.

Google is working on building a social layer on all of its products. Google Places is no exception.

It’s encouraging people to join Hotpot and create a friends list. Only time will tell if they will.



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-- Jessica Guynn