Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech

Google Maps for Android updated, Latitude and Hotpot now cozier than ever

Google Maps for Android got a small but worthwhile update today, which seems to be part of an effort to socialize Latitude while tying it in closer to Hotpot.

Hotpot, which most people just call "Places" at this point since it's never referenced by name in the app itself, now allows users to post their reviews of establishments to Twitter. It's also now meshed in with Latitude much more tightly than ever before, since users checking in at places with Latitude can now "earn status" by doing so. No further information is given up front, so it's probably going to take a while to find out what kind of "status" is given for high check-in numbers.

You can now also invite Latitude friends to check in at Hotpot locales by sending them a request directly from the app. In other words, if you don't feel like actually texting or calling somebody to ask them to meet you at Starbucks, you can just check in there with Latitude and have the app start nagging them for you. As silly as it sounds, I'll admit that this is something I'd probably do.

Last but not least, in an effort to make Latitude more usable users can now search for places to check into when the location they happen to be at inevitably fails to show up on the check-in list.

It's a small update with no visual bells or whistles, but every step forward in Google's quest to make both Hotpot and Latitude viable social tools is a step in the right direction. The update is live now, so be sure to grab it at the Android Market.

Tags: android, apps, cellphones, google, google maps, google places, GoogleMaps, GooglePlaces, hotpot, latitude, mobile, places, search, social networking, SocialNetworking, utilities