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from the L.A. Times

Google Places adds Hotpot to iPhone app to take on Yelp


Google launched its latest effort to topple the popular business recommendation website Yelp on Wednesday by adding its Hotpot service to its Google Places app for Apple's iPhone.

Hotpot allows users to rate, comment on and recommend restaurants, businesses and venues, very similar to the features and services on Yelp's website and mobile apps.

Google, which has had huge success with its search engine, e-mail platform, ad sales, Blogger and Android mobile operating system, hasn't cracked the social media space the way it would like. Google Buzz hasn't become the next Twitter and, so far, Hotpot isn't as popular as Yelp, which Google tried and failed to buy in 2009.

The update brings the iPhone app up to snuff with Google Places on Android, which has had Hotpot baked-in for some time.

Google has also integrated Hotpot with its Google Maps apps on Android and online.

Google Places uses search and location tracking to recommend nearby businesses and attractions based on a user's past ratings of similar spots as well as friends' recommendations.

The Hotpot service, just as Yelp, can also be used in a Web browser. The update, for now, is available in English only, though Hotpot software engineer Greg Blevins in a blog post promised more localization features and languages in the near future.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Images: Hotpot being used in the Google Places app for the iPhone. Credit: Google

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