Location based services are quite the rage these days. Although, recent data suggests that the market for these services might be shrinking (instead of growing), most companies remain bullish about the future of location oriented services. Google already has a couple of location based services like Latitude and Places. Now, the internet giant has launched Hotpot, which is a social recommendation service built on top of Places.
Google Places is quite good at aggregating data on local restaurants, bars, hotels etc. Hotpot uses the very same data and makes it more personal. Not only can you read up about restaurants in your vicinity, but you can also view what your friend’s think about them and add your own rating.
Interestingly enough, although Hotpot is a Google service, it doesn’t utilize your Google profile. This is probably due to potential privacy pitfalls. All reviews you submit to Hotpot are public. Anyone can read your review and check out your Hotpot profile. However, only friends will be able to see your Google profile.
There are already established players like Urbanspoon and Around Me. However, as always, Google’s biggest advantage is its ubiquity. Once Hotpot matures, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it baked into Android devices in some form. For now you can head over to www.google.com/hotpot to check it out yourself.
Update: Google has updated Maps for Android to add Hotpot integration.