Google Places, the new iPhone app from Google, is your gateway to the location-based search service of the same name, available at google.com/hotpot. Like Foursquare before it, Google Hotpot taps crowd-sourced database of recommendations regarding various places such as restaurants, bars, local businesses and more.

The Places app brings this functionality to the iPhone crowd. It lets you give the places their star rating, review them and add optional details, but also rate and add friends. The more you interact, the better personalized recommendations the cloud will produce. From the app’s iTunes description:

Google Places with Hotpot helps you discover nearby places you’ll love. Quickly search for Restaurants, Cafes, Bars and other places, while on the go.

Google Places also makes it easy to quickly rate the places you visit. By rating places, you power Hotpot — Google’s new personalized recommendation engine, which lets you get place recommendations based on the places you like and recommendations from your friends

You can browse nearby places in preset categories or narrow down your results with custom search lists. Rating the place couldn’t be easier: Just run the app and hit the "Rate now" button to use your device’s geolocation features to guesstimate your current place. Everything you do in the iPhone app is visible when you access Google Places on your desktop.

The Places app is now available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad as a free download from the App Store. Right now, it’s English-only but Google promised more features, improvements and localizations "soon." The program requires iOS 3.0 or later. Google Places with Hotpot is also available in Google Maps for Android, the search firm noted.

Source: The official Google Mobile blog