Cloud Computing: Google Hotpot: A Social Network with Some Assembly Required
Ask most people whether Google has a social network, and they will laugh. Of course not, silly! Everyone knows Facebook is the social network, and that Twitter is where you go to spout brief, social messages or personal edictsand then flit away. But Google does have a social network, provided users cultivate it as such. It's called Hotpot, Google's local recommendation engine, which the company rolled out as feature for its Google Places service on Google Maps in November. The service lets users rate, write and publish reviews about restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments from Android and now iPhone smartphones. Rating a restaurant from a smartphone while you're there is a fun sort of guerilla-foodie exercise, but it can be more fun if you have friends with whom to share your Hotpot ratings and reviews. So to enrich the experience, go to Google's Hotpot Website to invite friends, and even add some ratings of Google Places you've already visited. This will give you content and social foundations on which to build for the future. It's not Facebook, but you can certainly get caught up praising or lambasting local shops in your area.