Google’s Hotpot rating tool decides the places to see

16 Nov 2010

Google has introduced a clever new rating tool called Hotpot that allows users to rate locations and venues like restaurants for friends and in turn see other recommended places.

The new Hotpot rating app, which combines ordinary search and mapping with a rating tool, will enable people to find new places to visit in new cities based on sources they can trust.

The move seems to be a clever take on some of the existing geo-location services from Foursquare and Facebook’s Places app, and could precipitate a more comprehensive geo-location social networking tool from Google.

The Hotpot app takes advantage of the 50 million places around the world for which rich details exist on Google Maps.

Users can rate a venue like a hotel, restaurant or museum by up to five stars. What this will then do is find other restaurants or museums that have a similar profile to the place you’ve given a five-star rating to.

Early release of Hotpot

Users can then share their ratings with friends and see the places they’ve recommended.

“The challenge with finding those great places is that each of us has different tastes,” said Lior Ron, product manager at Google. “I want to find places I like and I want to find them quickly. So when I’m overwhelmed with possibilities, I turn to sources I can trust.

“For example, if I’m in a new city, I might chat with the concierge at my hotel and explain to him the kinds of places I like so he can give me personalised recommendations, or I’ll ask my friends for local recommendations because I value their opinions and we have similar tastes. But finding trusted advice is hard; wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for me to get these recommendations all the time, everywhere I go?

“We are trying to do exactly that, and today we’re excited to share the first step: an early release of Hotpot – 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,” Lor said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years