Google has brought its Google Places app with Hotpot local recommendations to Apple's iPhone. The move is geared to boost Google's social personality vis a vis Facebook.
Google's Android operating system might feel a pinch when Verizon's iPhone 4
hits the market, but that doesn't mean the company can't continue to capitalize
on ads associated with Apple's popular smartphone.
Google Jan. 12 launched a version of its Google Places application, which
includes the company's new Hotpot recommendation engine for the iPhone.
The search engine in November began offering Hotpot
-which surfaces friend recommendations about
local businesses-on Google Maps for Android 4.7.
Hotpot lets users rate, write and publish reviews about restaurants, coffee
shops and other establishments from their smartphones. Hotpot users will also
now see a stream
listing the most recent rating and review
activity by their Hotpot friends when they search Google Maps.
Combined with Places-which lets users search for local businesses and
personalize results based on ratings-Hotpot provides some social glue to keep
users and their friends sticking around in Google instead of going to Facebook
With the new Google Places app for the iPhone, Google will gain a nice,
additional entry point for Hotpot.
Places with Hotpot lets iPhone users rate a place while they're there by
launching the app and hitting "Rate now." The app uses the GPS
in the iPhone to guess a user's current place and allow them to post a Hotpot
review from their iPhone.
It's not unlike what Foursquare users do when they check into a place from
their mobile phone and add tips and comments. However, Google isn't done with
the data users enter into their iPhones at the point.
Based on the user ratings, Google can deliver more personally tailored
recommendations via Hotpot in Places on subsequent visits.
Google, which has been building steam for Hotpot with local businesses in Portland, Ore
., is also encouraging
Android and iPhone Places users to visit Hotpot
from their desktop computer to populate their app with,
as well as rate places with which they're already familiar.
"Once you've added friends, you'll find your results seasoned, not just
with reviews from around the Web and recommendations based on your own personal
taste, but also with your friends' opinions too," wrote Google Hotpot
engineer Greg Blevins in a blog post
. Hotpot, which falls under the purview of new Google Local
Products head Marissa Mayer, is clearly one of several social layers Google is
focusing on in 2011. If popular enough, it could provide a solid base for
Google's contextual discovery