Google wants your recommendations
The company starts a service that collects user reviews of restaurants and other businesses.
Hotpot isn't a huge business for Google, but it opens up plenty of new advertising opportunities and gives users a social service along the lines of Yelp.
Hotpot hooks up user reviews with data from Google Places, and those reviews will show up in Google search results. Google describes Hotpot as a way to find new restaurants by consulting other people's recommendations.
Hotpot isn't all that impressive on its own, and seems about the level of what you'd get from Yelp and other sites. But, as Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land points out, Google has the potential to turn this into something really interesting by combining Hotpot with other services.
Google could turn Hotpot into another Foursquare, for example, that lets you check in to locations and adds another social layer on top. That idea was certainly attractive to Facebook, which unveiled its own location-based service called Places.
Google has some assets on its side in this competition -- notably search, Android and Google Maps, Cnet notes.
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