Google announced a new Google Maps feature today, related to the company's recently launched Hotpot social recommendation product. Now, users can search Google Maps, and request results based on the recommendations of specific friends.
"Most of us know lots of friends, each with very different areas of expertise when it comes to places to recommend. With the recent launch of Hotpot, we made it easy for you to see your friends’ ratings and reviews listed right inside search results," says Hotpot engineer Daniel Yehuda. "While this is really helpful, and we've had a lot of fun with it, we often found ourselves wanting to see all recommendations by a particular friend for a particular search. Problem solved..."
"Say I'm searching on Google Maps for 'italian restaurants' in New York," Yehuda explains. "I'd probably trust my buddy Octavian’s recommendations over Bernhard’s (who is more of a hamburger guy, really). Now all I have to do, to see Octavian’s entire list of Italian restaurant recommendations in the city, is click on his name when he pops up in my initial search; this filters my search results to only those he’s rated and shows them on the map. It’s like I’m seeing the world, through Octavian’s eyes."
The feature is available for the desktop version of Google Maps, as well as the Android version.
Now, it's going to help if your friends are actually rating restaurants using Hotpot. There's probably a good chance that they're not, and the feature isn't going to be incredibly useful without your friends. It remains to be seen just how big Google will be able to take Hotpot, but there's no question the company is putting a great deal of focus on it these days.
In fact, Google is putting a great deal of emphasis on local search in general, and with Marissa Mayer (who until recently was Google's VP of search products and user experience) running the show in this area, it's not hard to see a product like Hotpot gaining some steam.