In November 2010, Google Hotpot, a new recommendation engine to help people discover great new places when they search on Google was launched. It's simple: Rate and review the places you know, add friends whose opinions you trust and we serve you up personalized recommendations based on those tastes.
Now, today, Google graduated Hotpot to be a permanent part of the core local product offering, Google Places. Rolling Hotpot into Google Places helps simplify the connection between the places that are rated and reviewed and the more than 50 million places that already have an online presence through Google Places--places that millions of people search for and find every day on Google.
"Though the name Hotpot may be going away, you can expect even more "Hotpotness" in Google Places. We have big plans to continue adding more features to Google Places that make it even easier to rate, discover and share the places you love whenever you're using Google," Google said.
[Soaurce: Google Places blog]