Less than five months after Google introduced Hotpot, its absurdly named answer to Yelp for restaurant reviews, it’s dead.At least as a brand. Instead, it will become just another feature of Google Places.
The idea is valid — as people turn to sites Yelp for recommendations, that’s one less Google search they might conduct.
But it was never clear why Hotpot got its own brand name, when it was actually part of Places from the beginning.
It’s not as hard to eliminate brands as it is to cut products or features, but it’s still an important kind of streamlining — having too many brands creates confusion. It looks like Larry Page and his new lieutenants are attacking inefficiency on all fronts.