Google Places with Hotpot – New Google Local Maps Interface

As I went to login to my Google Places account this morning, I arrived at a very different place than I normally do. A completely redesigned landing page with a big bold graphic and an invitation to “Discover Yours – Local recommendations powered by you and your friends” and a button asking me to Start Rating now with Hotpot. So Google has entered their offering into the local-check-in-review-social-community-ratings race.  Took them longer than the others, but here’s to hoping it’s better than the others (not like the Nexus One Google phone).

Screenshot of Google Places with HotpotWill Google Hot Pot (or Hotpot) incorporate Google’s mobile check-in app SCVNGR?  Probably.

And is the choice of the name really just a coincidence given the recent California legislature voted down, to legalize marijuana? Or is Google keyword stuffing?

You be the judge, but one thing is certain – Google maps has changed.

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