Google HotPot: Find Local Search Recommendations From Your Social Circle

Discovering new places or locations can be really tricky. Let’s say you are traveling to a different country or city and would want to know the famous restaurants, shopping centers, historic places and other places of interest in the same location. There are three options – either ask the local citizens, buy a local guide book or search the internet. Often times, I would go for the third option because the internet contains fresh and up to the minute information from all over the globe.

We have earlier discussed some useful tricks on performing country specific Google searches and some other special Google search tricks. Just a couple of days ago, Google launched yet another service called Google Hotpot which allows users to discover local search recommendations from your social circle.

According to Google, HotPot aims to make local search results for places on Google more personal, relevant and trustworthy. Everybody have their own likes and dislikes and Google HotPot aims to understand your liking and offer relevant places suggestion, which are personalized by you and your social circle. In short – Google HotPot is nothing but a local recommendation engine powered by you and your friends.

To start using Google Hotpot, go to google.com/hotpot and you will be asked to set up your public Google places nickname and upload a profile avatar.

Google HotPot welcome screen

Hit the “Start Rating” button and you are all set discovering new places using the Google Hotpot service. In the next page, you will see that Google has automatically detected your current location, as shown below:

Google HotPot Location Detected

Searching Locations Using Google Hotpot

Type relevant search terms on the Google Hotpot box and you will be shown local search locations.

Note: you must be signed in to your Google account in order to see the personalized recommendations.

Example: I searched for “Hotels” and here is what I was shown:

Google Hotpot local search results

There are a few things worth noting here. First, only those search results which closely match with your location and the typed terms ( keywords used for search) are shown. Next, the search results are ordered according to user ratings, this means that recommendations of a particular place from your social friends will appear higher in the search results. Third, you are shown a small preview of the location so that you can quickly decide which location you are interested in.

You can click through any result or open it in a new tab to get the complete location information, street address, reaching directions and in some cases phone number or email address of the organization.

Google HotPot Location Information And Reaching Directions

Should you want to save a preferred location for later reference or want to discard it, just click through the required option on top of the search result. Clicking the “Not Interested” button will immediately remove the result from your HotPot result and it won’t appear if you perform the same search later.

Customize Google HotPot Search Results

You can also write a review of a place, location, hotel, restaurant, historic place etc. This is useful, because your friends will be able to read your feedback if they perform the same search on the same location.

Google HotPot write review of a place

When you are done rating at least 5 or more search results, Google Hotpot will try to understand your liking and will show personalized search results matching within your HotPot social circle.

The next step is to add friends to your Google Hotpot profile. You can invite friends from your Google profile, by clicking the Friends tab on the left sidebar and then selecting “Add Friends” button as shown below:

Google HotPot Add Friends And Influencers

Once you have added all or selected friends, you are all set to receive personalized “Place recommendations” directly on your Google HotPot profile. Whenever any of your friends rate or review a place, you will be able to see it from the “Friends” tab in the left sidebar. Since the service has been launched only a week ago, don’t expect the recommendations right away. But as more and more people start using Google HotPot, I am sure it will be the Go to option to get personalized location based information.

You can read the official blog post on the Google latlong blog for more information.

What’s your take on Google Hotpot? Have you started using yet ? Do share your ideas in the comments.