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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yelp Reviews Dumped by Google Maps, Hotpot Recommendations Now Appearing

Posted by @ 11:41 pm

We thought it wouldn’t take long and Google certainly didn’t disappoint.

Less than two months after its release, Google has started pushing reviews and ratings from Hotpot into Google Maps.

Google’s aim for this is to make the Google Maps results more personalized for users by providing more personal, relevant and trustworthy reviews and to stay up to date with the latest places recommended or reviewed by your Hotpot friends. All Hotpot users on logging into their Google accounts will see recent activity from their Hotpot friends in the left-side window, as shown below.

Does Google have an ulterior motive for this integration? It would appear that Google is taking a direct shot at Yelp, the review site whose user’s ratings were included in the Google Maps results. Google Hotpot was launched last November in direct competition to Yelp who offers a similar service. With the introduction of a system that will recommend sites based on personal preferences & reviews and by integrating it into mobile, map and search pages it would seem that Google no longer has a need for Yelp.

Google says this new feature is available to both desktop and iPhone users and also that the integration of Hotpot reviews to Google Maps is still in its beta stage so users can expect to see the feature being further developed, making it even easier for them to keep track of their friends’ activities. Hotpot recommendations will also appear, in the Google Places search results when appropriate. With such an extensive user-base Google is all set to take advantage of these numbers and the fact that people are getting more and more interested in looking up reviews and recommendations from trusted sources.

Even though in its initial stages for now, Google has a lot of work to do to get at par with Yelp who are better off in terms of presentation and updating the reviews by the users.

We will have to watch closely to see how Google plans to develop this feature into a sophisticated, yet user friendly feature.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

Discussion (4 - comments)

Google Maps Changes…

“Less than two months after its release, Google has started pushing reviews and ratings from Hotpot into Google Maps.” Yelp reviews are now gone. – I Need Hits (an SEO blog) There are some UI experiments going on, too. “The not-so-stylish, white but…

By All Points Blog - January 17, 2011

A quick check of listings shows Yelp Reviews on Google Places still showing?

By Randy Kirk - January 17, 2011

Good for Google. They don’t need yelp. Yelp is not “real people, real reviews” but infested with fake profiles and trolls. Yelp also manipulates the reveiws and rating and also uses unethical tactics to pressure businesses into advertising.

By Joseph - January 17, 2011

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