At recent event put on by DigitalDUMBO, Google made an effort to extend its global reach by holding a focus presentation designed to garner feedback about its location-based ratings and reviews service, Google Places. Pegged as an alternative to services like Yelp! and TripAdvisor, Google Places looks to give businesses an advantage by utilizing Google’s existing stable of products and services, like Search and Maps, to make Places substantially more beneficial for small businesses.
Now with “Hotpot”
The current version of Google Places wasn’t always as snappy and intuitive as it is today. This “Places” is a product of Google’s recent desire to combine its multitude of services (created with credit to the now shuttered Google Labs) like Latitude, into singular entities that provide a more unique and collaborative experience. One of the more heavily implemented services into “Places” is Google Hotpot. Similar to what makes Yelp! Yelp!, “Hotpot” uses Google technology to get your location and offer suggestions on restaurants, bars, and other places of interest around you. And if you submit ratings and reviews of places you’ve already been (either near or far), “Places” uses Hotpot to offer similar locations nearby.
The More “Places” Knows You, The More It Loves You
Both personally and professionally, Google Places works more efficiently the more it has to go off. So if you have a limited personal profile, i.e. minimal ratings and reviews, it’ll stick to recommending general local eats. Same goes businesses, albeit they’ll be affected by not coming up in certain searches. But these things can be improved by the inclusion of more information, or if you have friends that use Places, you’ll get suggestions about what they like and dislike, which makes everyone’s experience on Places much more unique.
Google+ + “Places” = Unique Branding Opportunities Galore
Of the questions and comments thrown around at the presentations conclusion, one of the more interesting that was (unsurprisingly) not answered was how Google Places would be incorporated into Google’s recent social outing, Google+. In traditional Google fashion, the notion of these services being combined isn’t purely speculative. In combining Google Places into the soon-to-be-revealed Business aspect of Google+, businesses would be able to more closely monitor the feedback about their establishments and reach out to users who either have had a positive experience, or work to improve on negative comments, as well as have a more in depth company profile than you might find on a competing online social experience.
Provided the current climate of web-based and mobile technologies, these improvements made to “Places” stand to offer Google a competitive edge in both fields, overall expanding its ever growing global presence.