Google Places, Google’s database of local businesses that is tightly integrated into Google Maps, just arrived on the iPhone in the form of a stand-alone application. This app also includes support for Hotpot, the company’s new social review and recommendation service that is taking up the fight against incumbents like Yelp and CitySearch. Android users already had access to this feature since November 2010.
The app works just like you would expect it. Once started, you will be greeted with a choice of categories (restaurants, bars, gas stations, hotels, etc.) and clicking on their respective icons then gets you to a list of relevant businesses close to you. If you actively rate places on Hotpot, you will also get better local recommendations that could be a bit farther away from you but are more likely to be of interest to you. Of course, you can also see your friends’ reviews and recommendations from Places and Hotpot in the app.
For now, this application will be available in English only. Google expects to roll out more features and localizations in the near future.
Google has recently put a lot of emphasis on the oddly named Hotpot. Earlier this week, it also announced the integration of Hotpot directly into Google Maps, one of the company’s most popular products. This app will surely help Google to drive the adoption rate of Hotpot even higher and bring more reviews to its database.