Here’s a sign of how intent Google is on increasing adoption of Hotpot, its local recommendations engine: Hotpot activity from your friends has been added to the Google Maps home page.
If you’re logged in to your Google account, you’ll see recent activity from your Hotpot friends in the left-side window.
(Aside: Clearly, my Hotpot friends aren’t all that active.)
Hotpot friends’ activity also appears, when appropriate, in the Google Places search results on Google.com. Today’s announcement says the Maps integration is in beta and to expect more development.
That left-side window on the Google Maps home page has been pretty empty over the years, so adding Hotpot activity seems like a logical fit.