Google has introduced a new tool that will utilise social recommendations to suggest new businesses based on what a user's friends have rated.

Writing on the company's Lat Long blog, product manager Lior Ron stated the new feature would make localised search results "more personal, relevant and trustworthy".

The system, known as Hotpot, allows searchers to rate a location they like in Google Places and share their favourite businesses with their contacts.

As well as suggestions based on the opinions of acquaintances, the tool also uses a searcher's rating history to attempt to recommend other places a person may enjoy based on what they and other people have liked in the past.

Commenting on Hotpot for CNET News, Stephen Shankland described the concept as "intriguing" and "eminently suited for making money", a view which may interest online PR agencies.

However, he also noted it appeared similar to an existing service that has been offered for several years by Yelp.

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