Google users who've tapped into the company's Hotpot service can now find recommendations on hotels, restaurants, and other spots as part of their regular search results.
Launched in November, Hotpot gives you the ability to check out reviews of different establishments and rate and review your own favorite (or not so favorite) spots. So if you're looking for a local hotel, restaurant, supermarket, shopping mall, or store, your fellow Hotpot users can tell you which ones are worth checking out. And if you want to share your opinions of that terrific Mexican restaurant down the road, you can do that as well.
Until yesterday, Hotpot was a separate Google service that you had to access on its own. But now the search giant has added Hotpot ratings and reviews to its regular search results. So if you search for restaurants in Rome or hotels in New York City and one of your Google Hotpot friends has offered a comment on one, you'll see that amid the search results.
Part of Google Places, Hotpot does require some work to kick it off. You first have to create a Google account if you don't yet have one and then set up a nickname (and optional photo) for your Google Places profile. If you then want to share ratings and reviews with your friends, you have to build up a network of people by inviting them to the service, otherwise you won't see any Hotpot opinions popping up in your regular search results.
Hotpot is expanding globally as well, with Google launching the service in 38 new languages, such as Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, and Russian. Hotpot is also available through Google Maps via the Web, Google Maps for Android, and the Google Places app for the iPhone.