Brafton has reported that Google executive Marissa Mayer says the company's geosocial service, Hotpot, will help set Google apart in the local market. Now, the search giant has announced it is bringing its social recommendation engine to regular searches, which might help marketers generate word-of-web referrals.
With the new feature, if friends have given a business with a Google Place page a review, users will see their comments in search results. Friends' comments will be featured within the standard results, and users can also click “Places” on the left side of the search page or use the Places app on their mobile phones to see more recommended businesses that are relevant to their queries.
This seems to be Google's answer to last year's Facebook/Bing alliance that enabled searchers to see which Bing results their friends Liked. But Google's Hotpot-enhanced search is also going a step further, as it will serve as a discovery tool.
When users offer ratings for Google Places pages, not only will these be available to friends using the service, but Google will use this data to customize future search results. Google tells users, “You'll be able to discover amazing new places you never knew existed.” This means the Google Hotpot search feature could help put brands on the map.
This is one of several announcements from Google this week indicating that the company is aggressively moving into the local and mobile markets. Just yesterday, Brafton report that Google launched check-ins for Latitude.