How do you train mainstream Internet users to not only leave reviews, but also to use your platform when they do it? You make it as simple as you can. And that’s just what Google has done.
The Google Mobile Blog announced last week that users can now update their Twitter status when they review a location on Google Hotpot or Google Latitude via their Android device.
“When you rate and review places like restaurants or cafes from Google Places, you can share valuable recommendations with your Hotpot friends and across Google’s products – in search results, on google.com/hotpot, and on Place pages. But we wanted you to be able to share your recommendations even more broadly. So today, you can start sharing your ratings and reviews with your followers on Twitter directly from your Android-powered device.”
Reviewers can use the Google Maps rating widget to share their reviews and ratings with their friends. Nothing particularly new or revolutionary, but at least we get a really clean interface.
And that’s not all.
Google also updated Google Latitude to give users the option to “ping” friends they see are nearby but who they don’t really want to call or text. Once you ping the friends you couldn’t be bothered to call, they’ll receive an Android notification asking them to check in wherever they are.
Once they do, you’ll receive a notification back letting you know where they’ve checked in so that you can see where they are and potentially meet up with them. (I’m not so sure about this one. Hopefully there’s also an option to “hide” your location so people can’t see you popping up all over the place.)
Personally, I think it’s really interesting to watch the moves that Google is making in local and social. By adding Twitter functionality to Google Hotpot reviews, they’re building more awareness and making it easier for users to share their recommendations (the service) with others. And they’re doing essentially the same thing by peer-pressuring users into checking in via Google Latitude–two services that, I imagine, haven’t been getting too much play compared to Yelp, FourSquare and even Facebook. With the new additions, Google adds some incentive for users to get involved and increases product awareness at the same time.
A smart play. But is it enough?
What do you think? Have you used Google Hotpot or Google Latitude, either for your business or personally? Have you seen many reviews being left for your business via Google Hotpot?