One thing he thankfully has done is already killed the pathetically named Hotpot which was supposed to be Google’s answer to local business review sites like Yelp. The product still exists but the name is gone. Thanks, Larry.
From the Google blog
It’s been incredibly exciting to watch Hotpot grow—the community has quickly expanded to millions of users who are rating more than one million times per month and enjoying a truly personalized view of the world. Based on this success, we’ve decided to graduate Hotpot to be a permanent part of our core local product offering, Google Places. Rolling Hotpot into Google Places helps simplify the connection between the places that are rated and reviewed and the more than 50 million places that already have an online presence through Google Places—places that millions of people search for and find every day on Google.
Google has been running city specific programs with Hotpot for a few months now and the idea is getting traction. What wasn’t making sense though was having Hotpot separate from Google Places. Well, that’s over and it looks like Google is starting to put together the current disparate pieces of a social strategy. Now, all we need to figure out is how +1 will mix with it all and something might be happening. Google employees are sure hoping it works since there is some bonus money riding on the social success of Google.
It looks like a new era has truly begun at Google. Even the players on Google’s team are changing up. Remember the whole Marissa Mayer move from search to local? The question was whether that was a demotion or not. Well, now that Jeff Huber has been named the SVP of local and commerce and Mayer is still just heading up local, it looks like some of the shine has come off Google’s first female engineer after all.
So we will now sit and wait to see what all of this really means as Hotpot is integrated into Google Places. In the end, all of this will only be as impactful as the general awareness by the public that all of this exists and how it works. But now that Google has become even more engineer centric you can bet it’ll be as clear as an algorithm.