Home Google Launches Hotpot, A Recommendation Engine for Places

Google Launches Hotpot, A Recommendation Engine for Places

Although there’s much buzz about location-based technologies being able to help you check in “where you are,” the far bigger problem when it comes to place is simply “where to go.” Where’s a decent nearby Mexican restaurant? What’s the best local coffee shop? To help address that, Google has just released Hotpot, a recommendation engine for places. The aim of Hotpot is to make local recommendations more personal and relevant, by recommending places based on your ratings and the ratings of your friends.

Hotpot has both a web-based and an Android app (an iPhone app will be coming soon). It allows you rate places and invite friends to share those ratings with. As you rate sites via Hotpot, the service will recommend other similar places that you might also like. And as you can share your recommendations with others, you can also see which spots your friends prefer.

Your recommendations will be visible when you use Google’s Place Search and will also appear on Maps.

While the Google versus Facebook battle seems to be getting a lot of attention, Hotpot may well have more effect against Yelp, the site long associated with local reviews and recommendations. Google has over 50 million places already, linked to maps and reviews (many of them Yelp reviews).

By moving the recommendation and review process “in house,” so to speak, by being able to provide an algorithm to recommend sites based on preferences, not merely location, and most importantly perhaps, by integrating these recommendations with mobile, Maps and Search, Google’s Hotpot may be a “killer” location-based app. Sorry, Yelp.

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