It’s hard to estimate just exactly how successful (or not) Google Hotpot, the company’s recently launched Yelp competitor, really is. Thanks to its integration with Google Maps and Google Places, it’s likely more popular than Google Buzz, though, and judging from the increase in ratings from Google users we’ve seen on Google Places lately, it’s probably working out well for Google. The company wants more publicity for Hotpot, however. Starting today, Google also lets you syndicate your ratings for local businesses from the Google Maps Android app to Twitter, marking this one of the first times that Google has enlisted Twitter in its tools to not just pull in information but also to syndicate it out.
The functionality itself is pretty straightforward. Users who rate local businesses in the Google Maps Android app will get a choice to post their reviews to Twitter. Tweets will include a goo.gl-shortened link that point to the Google Places page for the specific business.
Also New: Google Latitude Wants to Make Meeting up in Person Easier
Another update to the Google Maps Android app today brings an interesting new feature to the Google Maps app that allows you to send messages to those friends who checked-in on Google Latitude recently and meet up with them in person without having to send multiple text messages. Instead of having to call or text them, you can just “ping” them to ask them where they are now. They will then receive a notification on their phone, allowing them to check in at a place where they would like to meet up with you.
This feature sounds a bit like the upcoming version of EchoEcho. The disadvantage of Google’s implementation of this, though, is that your friends have to be on an Android phone as well and the procedure for setting up in-person meetings doesn’t feel very intuitive so far.