Google is working on social tools on a number of fronts more or less successfully. You can never count them out though when they are willing to bring the full weight of the front page of Google to the game.
It appears to me that eating, reviews and ratings are where they are really where they are making a stand and to do so they are driving traffic to Hotpot. Hotpot previously has been highlighted in Maps, Places and mobile.
What better way to incent Hotpot users than to show them, front and center, where their friends ate. What better way to create more Hotpot engagement and traffic than showing it on the front page of Google. Let the ego games begin.
Here is a screen shot of a branded Local Universal result where you can see the inclusion of Hotpot ratings:
- Google Hotpot – Yelp Meets Netflix in a Local Recommendation Engine
- Google Hotpot Recommendations Now Surfacing on Places Page and Maps
- Google Places: Are Ratings the New Reviews?