Hotpot is going Places

Friday, April 8, 2011 | 11:23 AM


Last November, we introduced Hotpot, our recommendation engine to help people discover great new places when they search on Google. It’s simple: Rate and review the places you know, add friends whose opinions you trust and we serve you up personalized recommendations based on those tastes.

Since then, we’ve released an iPhone and Android app, integrated Hotpot recommendations into and Google Maps, expanded to more than 47 languages and enabled people to share their ratings and reviews to Twitter. While busy iterating on the product side, we’ve also launched marketing and community campaigns in five cities in the U.S.: Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Madison, Wis.; and Charlotte, N.C.

It’s been incredibly exciting to watch Hotpot grow—the community has quickly expanded to millions of users who are rating more than one million times per month and enjoying a truly personalized view of the world. Based on this success, we’ve decided to graduate Hotpot to be a permanent part of our core local product offering, Google Places. Rolling Hotpot into Google Places helps simplify the connection between the places that are rated and reviewed and the more than 50 million places that already have an online presence through Google Places—places that millions of people search for and find every day on Google.

Many of you first asked us at Hotpot’s launch: Why the name? Hotpot, the dish, describes a shared eating experience. To us, the name embodied the communal experience of sharing your ratings and reviews with friends, and getting recommendations in return.

Though the name Hotpot may be going away, you can expect even more “Hotpotness” in Google Places. We have big plans to continue adding more features to Google Places that make it even easier to rate, discover and share the places you love whenever you’re using Google. So stay tuned to the new Google Places Blog for product updates, tips, tricks and news from our city campaigns.


sathya said...

Congratulations, guys!

Johnathan Lyon said...

If you make an "import yelp bookmarks" option, I'm in.

patcito said...

The link to hotpot namesake is broken (missing :).

Mike Corbett said...

i am happy with this, i think hotpot was a distracting confusing name. Good change

aegibson said...

Should've been this way all along. Good going.

Spinatmensch said...

Nice, but before adding more and more new features please improve google places! Merge pls user-ui and help so users are getting help at point where they need, please review concept of guidelines which is not understandable by many regular users. We receive every day new questions like "entry rejected please follow guidelines", "merged entries- please help", "verified place closed/wrong data" or "received no pin"!
Maps/Places is a key-feature and on top of many local search terms and so please do remember your own guideline "build websites for users and not for searchengines"! At the moment you have to build places entries for searchengines because of guideline regulations! So please hold on, think about and remember your own successfully roots before running into social-hype!

Catalyst eMarketing said...

Excellent move! HotPot SHOULD be part of Google's core local offering, Google Places.

Everything was so fractured before. With a unified Brand that makes sense and that most people already know, it seems you can make so much more headway.

CONGRATS to Jeff Huber if this is one of your 1st moves after taking over this Google division. Please be sure to read Mike Blumenthal's blog titled: "Where Does Local Fit into the Newly Organized Google Under Page" for important insights and commentary from leading industry pros on where Google Places could and SHOULD be heading. We look forward to you helping us get there!

Linda Buquet

DigitalRev said...

Thats going to be awesome. but Google need to work on few issues. auto assigning homepage URL to unverified business is causing major problem as most of these URL are not actual business URL. also blended results should be only displayed when more business has organic presence. to be honest blended results looks so messy.

AKS said...


Jannik Lindquist said...

Ahem...sort of cool, I guess. But - it still says "Google Hotpot" on the browser titlebar/tab and if I share a link from Hotpot on, say, Facebook, it will show up as a link to Google Hotpot. Please do this right, friends

Vanessa Schneider said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

patcito -- all fixed, thanks for catching.

Spinatmensch + DigitalRev -- We're always looking for ways to improve the experience and keep users first -- your feedback to the team is much appreciated!

Jannik -- Look for these final changes in the coming weeks. Will keep you posted!

- Vanessa, Google Places community manager