Google hotpot tells you what’s hot in your area

Well, it seems to be quite the week for big companies making announcements. Facebook unveiled Project Titan, Apple announced that the Beatles are now available on iTunes, and Google has unveiled hotpot (yes, it’s meant to be a lower-case m).

Hotpot is a recommendation system that uses the things you like to recommend more. Say, for instance, you search for cafes in your town. You’ll get a list of businesses Google knows about and can submit ratings and reviews for any you’ve tried out. I rated one highly and next time I checked the page again there was a recommendation to try a restaurant based on my review.

OK, so that’s a very easy connection to make, but I would imagine that as the list of venues you’ve rated grows you will receive more frequent, and more accurate recommendations on other local attractions you might like.

Hotpot also includes a social element. Add your friends and you’ll see their recommendations… and they’ll see yours. This is great if your friends share similar interests to you, and assuming you have at least one friend with more eclectic tastes you might just discover something completely new.

I like these recommendation engines, but more out of interest than true discovery. For instance, when I’m thinking of where to eat in town, I’m more likely to go with something I’ve had before than search for recommendations online. Still, hotpot makes it easy to share what you’re interested in and there’s always the chance you’ll uncover a little-known gem.

Why not give hotpot a try and let us know what you think in the comments? Is it recommending stuff you’re actually interested in? Would you ever use something like this to discover new venues? Let us know your thoughts.