Google have announced on its blog their new location based recommendation engine called Google HotPot. Google Hotpot is a local recommendations engine powered by you and your friends. You start by looking for a certain place category in your area – or any other area you’re interested in.
Results are displayed as cards, including a picture of the place, the average rating so far and links to save them for later or hide them from results (”not interested”). When you click a card, it flips so that you can leave your rating and a short review. Some places also include a list of criteria to rate, such as service, food or value. The rating goes from 1 to 5 stars, with also special “Best ever” prizes – which are limited to ten.
If you decide to share your ratings with friends, you can then see places they recommend. The idea is that if someone is your “friend”, then they may like similar food, clothes, etc. Google gives the example of visiting a foreign town and being able to look up ratings left by a friend who’s a local.
Three main points:
- Google Place Pages
- The places you like
- The places your friends like
Google Hotpot supposedly helps online consumers cut through the clutter of search results and get answers to queries from only trusted sources. This sounds a little like Blekko – the supposed “Google killer”- which Brafton reported uses slashtags to cut through spam in search results. But Hotpot might be more similar to geosocial tools such as Facebook Places, foursquare or even new socially fueled local search results offered by Bing, as Google says results are “powered by you and your friends.”
The recommendation engine draws on Google Places, which Brafton has reported is the site’s new local search tool. Hotpot offers results based on Places listings users have rated and recommended, as well as sites their friends have liked. To get started, users have to sign in with their Gmail accounts.
“Why rate the places you’ve been? Your ratings will personalize your search results by customizing them according to your tastes,” said the company in a blog post. “Even better, when you add friends to the mix using Hotpot on your computer, your ratings will point them in the direction of the best enchiladas in town the next time they crave Mexican food, wherever they happen to be.”