Google Places added a new social element - Hotpot. This FourSquare-like program allows you to make recommendations that then get shared with your friends.
Smartly, Hotpot pushes Places, getting business owners to claim their free listings to help Google build their efforts in the online Yellow Pages space, while using social networking to build reviews for their products.
You can add reviews on your smart phone by using Google Maps for Mobile, so they have the mobile thing included as well. And Hotpot also has its own Twitter account to friend people - it should not be long before there is a tie in for users to Tweet their reviews.
"More than 20 percent of Google searches now have a local intent, and it's clear that finding information about what's immediately around you is important.... With Google Hotpot, we're excited to take local search to the next level by making it more personal with recommendations powered by you and your friends," the Hotpot blog stated.
When I signed up they took me through my Gmail contacts and allowed me to pick the friends from there I wanted included in my Hotpot account. Will have to wait to see if they are emailed about it thus getting more people to join up.
Lisa Barone over at Outspoken Media shares some of the hesitancy others have voiced online:
"What Google (Hot Pocket) Google Hotpot really is, is another layer. It's another layer to Google's growing onion of social-local that already includes the likes of Google Places (now representing 50 million businesses), Google Latitude (no, really, give me your exact coordinates), Google Social Search (Peer Pressure:2010) and others. The problem is, sometimes layers don't feel like layers. When piled one on top of another, they feel like concrete walls. And then people begin to feel a little claustrophobic."
How popular this Google effort in social media becomes has yet to be determined.
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