Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google Hotpot Recommendations Now Surfacing on Places Page and Maps
Hotpot, Google’s new recommendation engine for local, while still in its infancy is already influencing results in Places and Maps. In Maps, when a searcher sees a listing that has a review from a Hotpot friend, Google will surface that friend’s snippet in the list view. As such, in this case, it is the most relevant snippet I have ever seen in Maps view. It was surprising to “see a friend” and it was attention grabbing seeing Stever’s icon there. In that regard, it is very rewarding and likely to feed back into the social success of Hotpot…
The friends snippet is not yet showing on a pure Places search but it is showing up prominently on the Places Page. I assume once there is more data and the quality has been confirmed you will see it there and at some point showing in the organo local blended results as well. (click to see full size)
In some regards, Hotpot does not need widespread social adoption to succeed. It just needs enough input to start improving search results for folks and it can do that with limited social circles and but a few reviews by the searcher. In the end, Google may not care as much about being a social power house as a marketing power house. Better, more relevant and more focused search results that come from personalization is one path there.