You heard it here first…

Not happy with dominating the huge market for local online search, the world’s largest search engine is now turning its attention to business reviews and social recommendations.

Because Google is about to muscle in on the local social apps scene, in a move designed to back up its existing Google Places and Google Maps local offerings.

The number one search engine in no longer merely a search engine, and only last week released an iOS app, moving closer and closer into territory normally occupied by social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

google local places appsThe latest app, free by the way, is ready for download at the iTunes store right now and it works together with the ever so clever Google HotPot (coming soon, stay tuned for details) which is a Yelp-like service that lets users rate and review their local businesses and share their recommendations on the net.

The Google Places app directs you to the nearest restaurants, cinemas, bars, petrol stations and a load of other attractions.

And because its Google you can also view the latest customer reviews, as well as your destinations contact info.

The idea behind it is that as more and more venues are reviewed the cleverer the new HotPot service becomes making it better at recommending places for you to visit when you’re in town.

Google Places certainly fuses the best features from plenty of different similar apps: Foursquare, Urbanspoon, Gowalla, Yelp and Citysearch for example.

The move shows Google is deadly serious about becoming the dominant force in local advertising and a virtually unlimited budget means they probably will.

And while that may raise certain questions about monopolym it also creates a golden egg of a free opportunity for local businesses everywhere.

Take a look at our local business solutions for Google Places here.

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