Google just launched Hotpot, a new service baked into Google Places that lets you rate restaurants, stores, bars, clubs and businesses to see which ones your friends like or dislike. It crowdsources rating or 1-5 stars or "best ever" if you really like it and think it special. It also allows you to view unrated, friends and all locations based on a search. One nice feature is the ability to click a box that says you are not interested as well. Its a very clean interface and the only thing it needs is an Android App which I assume is coming or will be integrated with Google Maps and Places. See the video below for more details on Google Places if you are restaurant or business owner and another video explaining Google Hotpot.
Its not surprising to see Google launching a business and restaurant recommendation service that would try and take market share from Yelp based on the traffic numbers below. This is great news for anti-spam lovers as Yelp's service has been gamed and is very spammy. Hotpot attempts to convert the recommendations of user connections for business recommendations advice for users. Recommendations and warnings will be used as signals to determine which establishments are presented to friends when they search and vice versa. Google Places is very well established geo location service that helps you find places nearby and likely understand where Free WiFi is available in the future. This ratings tool is also be another tool to help the company become more social and compete with Facebook.