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 Google.com 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.