A Tour Of Hotpot, Google's New Restaurant Site


Google just released a new product for finding restaurants called “Hotpot.” Hotpot is both local and social, two hot areas Google is not leading.

We took a quick run through Hotpot. It seems useful and well designed. We already prefer it to Yelp, but generally we’re not big fans of Yelp. (Something about it feels not right to us.)

If you like Yelp, then we don’t see any reason to switch to Hotpot. Hotpot probably won’t develop into a rollicking place for a big community.

The problem with Hotpot — which is the problem with all things social for Google — is that for it to really work well, we’ll need our friends to start using it. We just don’t see that happening. For whatever reason, our friends just aren’t interested in setting up Google profiles.

But! Even without those losers, Hotpot can still be a nice utility. As we review more restaurants, it will learn our tastes and recommend places to eat. It also aggregates reviews and information on each restaurant, making it super useful.

Hotspot will be added to Android, but no word on if it becomes an iPhone app.

You don't have to use your real name for your reviews.

Get started by looking for restaurants in your area.

Here's the grid layout, we find Song, which we've eaten at before.

Clicking on Song brings us to the landing page in Google Places for the restaurant.

Time to rate it, and leave a mini review.

Here's our review, right at the top.

Hotspot has some leaderboard type dynamic to it. You can see how many reviews and ratings you have made.

If you want to have friends in Hotspot, you need to set up a Google profile. Then you need to add your friends. We're sceptical we create a Hotspot community, but you never know.

Our next search for just Italian brought up Al Di La, a great restaurant in the area. So, it looks like Hotpot could become pretty useful. We'll test it more and see what happens.

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