Google is making changes, as it seems, in its Google Maps UI. As a result, users are expected to get new navigation controls in the Google Maps. The ordinary buttons for Map or satellite view selection and the drop down list for toggling geo-tag features like the photos are to be replaced by more stylish graphical icons.
The changes also brings various other cool features in the 'more' column that conforms to the made changes. The Google Maps also included the Hotpot feature. Octavian "Vivi" Costache, a Hotpot Engineer, comments on Hotpot saying, “When you need a great restaurant, hotel or pub, who do you turn to first for a recommendation? Your friends. We wanted to recreate that valuable exchange with Hotpot, our local recommendation engine from Google Places, which allows you to add friends whose opinions you trust and see their place recommendations right in your search results.”
Therefore, Hotpot is a social recommendation feature of Google. Users of Hotpot can rate a place like mentioned above restaurant, hotel, pub, theater and so on according to their experience. This way one can recommend friends or see their recommendations on a location they have been to or want to go. Currently, the Hotpot feature is available in beta mode. Google is experimenting further and will come up with additions and changes to give Hotpot's users a better experience.
Another cool feature added to the Google Maps is the new 45° imagery feature. It has some refreshed 45° images for various places in the US including Albuquerque (NM), Contra Costa County (CA), Escondido (CA), Long Beach (CA), Norfolk (VA), New Orleans (LA), San Antonio (TX), St Petersburg (FL), Tucson (AZ) and Van Nuys (CA). Users can now view these places in the new 45° images provided. Google also said that there will be more added in 2011.
So, have fun using the new features and the made changes on the Google Maps. Also keep watching out for the mentioned updates and additions as well.