If you’re a Portlander, you’ve probably heard of Google Places by now. We were lucky to be the launch city for Places (which was called Hotpot originally) and enjoy a series of free concerts by the likes of The Dandy Warhols and The Thermals back in February. They’ve since switched their name back to Google Places and expanded on to five other cities, including Austin and San Francisco. If you haven’t checked out Places yet, it is a ratings and review site, that will get to know your preferences, and start recommending places for you based on your personal tastes. The more you review, the smarter the recommendations become. You may have used Google Places without knowing it already, since it integrates directly with Google Maps. Ever looked up a restaurant with Google Maps, and looked at the listing page with the reviews? That was a Places page.
Like with any user-submitted review system, the more reviews, the better the recommendations, so Google wants you to try out Places, and see how easy it is to use for rating and reviewing, and then you can use the recommendations to find new places. It’s a great tool for travelers, which is why Google Places chose to sponsor the Meet, Plan, Go career break event here in Portland at Ace Hotel.
The Google Places App can use the GPS on your Android or iPhone to find places near where you are, and show you important details, like if they’re open, and you can read the reviews. So if you’re in a place you’re not super familiar with, Google Places will use the preferences you’ve shared about places you are more familiar with, to make recommendations for you based on where you are.
To make trying out Google Places even more exciting, Google is giving away a Chromebook to the person who show’s that they’re a Local Expert. Who ever writes the most quality reviews on Google Places between now and November 7 will win.
Christina Collada is the Community Manager for Google Places PDX.