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.

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11 thoughts on “Google Hotpot Recommendations Now Surfacing on Places Page and Maps”

  1. Aha, look, It’s me 🙂

    My initial take on hotpot, and my little bit of playing around with it, is that if user uptake is significant the volume of reviews for businesses will grow fast. The interface showing multiple boxes of businesses that you can skim over and stop and review the ones you like and dismiss those you don’t want to bother with makes it simple to fire off multiple reviews in one sitting.

    So the question becomes, will enough people start using it?

  2. I don’t see critical mass as necessary for this to succeed.

    I see it as a virtuous cycle that will lead to ever increasing reviews, better recommendations and more social interactions.

    Given the relatively large numbers of reviews in the system now, Google can improve recommendations. With improved recommendations (and subtle nagging like above), they will see more reviews and perhaps more social interactions…. this doesn’t require critical mass just increasing mass.

  3. I was playing with Hotpot when it was announced, and randomly commented on my hotel client to see how it works. My “free wifi” comment is now a comment on the hotel Places page under ‘Reviews by Google users’, but without showing my name as the user.

  4. @Lauren

    It won’t show your user name unless you choose to do so in your profile. The default is to not show it so you have to make a conscious choice to show it.

  5. Mike, nice post.

    I agree that a few personalized suggestions here or there with HotPot could really bring things to a rolling boil, so to speak.

    Complete side note. It’s funny. I incorporated my business just over two years ago w/the State of Oregon as above & two years later, the first half of my business name is irrelevant. But it’s not like I have time to go re-file the paperwork. It speaks to your continued point, Mike, about really getting things right with your business name the first time.

  6. @Mike, true it may not need a big critical mass, but it could still flop like Wave did. Interface does look like some chintzy homemade site by a newbie web designer. But at same time is very simple and user friendly.

  7. @David

    On the name thing…I have struggled with “” for years. At first adding detail and now taking it away so as not to muddy too much the rapid changes in our business… Although this problem is much worse in technology than any other field.

    I am convinced on this one that regardless the evolution and or demise of Hotpot in particular, Google wins. “Google Local” no longer exists but its impact on Google has been huge. This will function much the same way.

    Regardless of the final landing spot for HotPot, the data collected and the process started will do several things… allow Google to improve search results and increase social interactions with their platform… they don’t need a facebook killer to come away from this in great shape…

  8. Hard to create a facebook killer. But will this be a Yelp killer? When Hotpot was first released and I was scanning over all the posts and articles on it my first thoughts were that Yelp was toast and should have taken that buyout offer when they had the chance. But after playing with it for a bit I’m not quite sure it will be the demise of Yelp, but will at least sting them a bit over time.

  9. @Stever

    For me it is a grand experiment in Search Interface Design and a continuation of their successful foray gathering reviews. If it succeeds at social all the better but not a requirement to call it a victory.

  10. May not be a Yelp killer, but it does have the potential to put them on life support. This is big and Google knows it! Kudo’s

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