Hotpot is a local recommendation engine powered by you and your friends. With Hotpot, we’re making local search results for places on Google more personal, relevant and trustworthy.
Hotpot is layering reviews and ratings over the Google Places data and leverages Android's 200,000 new phones a day with an app to do Mobile reviews etc. Apps are what makes these hyper Local/Geo services go! I have been successful in using several Google Search and Map APIs so I've been very interested in the Google Places API from the day it was announced.
These are possibly the means by which Google finally "gets" Social traction and further solidifies its' Mobile Ad dominance gained by purchasing AdMob.
How Googlepot Works
Google Places 50 million places around the world for which we have rich details.
Google Places has details for 50 million places around the world and yet this program still isn't getting traction. Part of the problem starts with the hassle of you having to add yet another profile to Google. This seems appropriate since this provides an anonymous profile for your reviews. Yeah … but it's yet another Google profile and way to track you! That said appropriate or not this will be yet another impediment to growth.
(lol Dave is his own friend, nice.)
The thing is I put myself and some local clients in a Google Places predecessor but never did anything to promote it or take any action to get reviews or ratings. The reason for that is simple… I don’t compete with cowboys when I know the sheriff is bringing a begun to break up the gunfight!
When you rate places you like, we’ll tell you about other related places you’ll love.
So… if I'm a business do I really want to tell my customers about other places they won't just like… they'll love them! Geez this might discourage businesses from seeking/soliciting reviews and ratings. It's obvious that "the Google" wants "Yelp like" reviewers that they could conceivably crawl other reviews/comments/status updates by the reviewer for a shadow index.
Bill Slawski's post "How Google may Manage Reputations for Reviewers and Raters" is very interesting discussion of a recent patent in that the process described seems it might be partially what we are seeing in play with the use of these reviewers. Could they be like a seedlist for a crawl.
Share your ratings with your friends and see the places they’ve recommended.
Note that this uses your Google profile Friends (to some extent) who for me the closest is about 1 1/2 hr. drive. So kinda' doubt we'll be recommending restaurants for each other unless they are coming to Toronto. Google's reluctance to leverage other Social Networks for friend connections doesn't seem like a very smart move.
Google just doesn't get that no one wants their Standalone Social Networks because they aren't that much better or are worse than what they are trying to displace. Ruud's post on Search Engine People made some excellent points on how this seems to be a theme among all Google Social endeavors.
The SEO Perspective
Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information. In addition, you’ll find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page so you can switch to these results whenever you want.
One thing we must also consider is there have been a spate of new search initiatives at the query level ie: Instant Search and Previews a new Local Products and the first Local change that's currently in play. IMO, this is the prelude to a new era in Local Search.
The days of the cowboys ruling the Local Search roost are behind us opening the way for those of us who stayed away because we didn't want to waste clients money on things that won't last. If Google takes this as a primary verification of legitimate listings then Hotpot, despite the ridiculous name, may gain some traction.