GOOGLE’S PLACE

We got an email from our dentist a few days ago. He was thanking us for our recent teeth-cleaning visit. Clicking a link in his email took us to Google Hotpot (google.com/hotpot), where we saw pictures of many of the dentists in town, along with patient ratings under each. After awarding our dentist five stars, we opened wide and explored further.

Hotpot is Google’s answer to Yelp.com, a popular site for reviews on just about everything. Yelp has gotten a lot of criticism lately because businesses can pay to have negative reviews removed. That’s certainly justifiable criticism. We haven’t heard anything like that about the new Google service, however.

A quick look at the Hotpot restaurant reviews showed more favorable than unfavorable. But a nearby pizza place that’s part of a national chain had only two stars from most users. Bob recently tried some and said it was the worst pizza he’d ever had in his life. You can start searching for ratings at Google.com/places, which was just recently set up to include Hotpot.

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