Google Hotpot Service Testing in Portland

Google has picked Portland Oregon as the city for the marketing campaign of its new local recommendation service, “Hotpot”.

Employees will be working with area businesses to give them marketing kits and window stickers such as the one to the right of this post. The stickers are “interactive”, with NFC technology, which is just now starting to be added to “smart” cell phones such as the Nexus S. If a restaurant posts the sticker on their window, a passer-by will be able to touch their phone to the sticker to find out more information on the business, including ratings by other Hotspot/Google Places users.

According to the Hotpot blog, “we’re excited today to start testing this new approach by launching our first local marketing campaign in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a tech savvy, forward-thinking city with a history of innovation and some of the best coffee houses, microbreweries and parks in the country. Whether you know it as The City of Roses, Stumptown, P-Town, Rip City or just PDX, Portland’s thriving local business community and strong heritage of being a trailblazer made it a great choice for us to try something new.”

Google is partnering with Voodoo Doughnuts. “Because we at Google are such big fans of their tasty treats, we wanted to spread the love — so if you like doughnuts and coffee, be sure to stop by both locations starting this Saturday at 10am for a special treat.”

To further encourage new users, they are launching a competition. “Everyone over the age of 18 who lives within a 50-mile radius of Portland can participate, and the top five raters at the end of the competition will win dinner for 10 at any restaurant in Portland, courtesy of Google.”

Combined with Google Places, the new service sounds like this could give Yelp and UrbanSpoon a serious run for their money, though it may be some time before the NFC Technology may be commonly available.

You can read more information here.

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