It's taken months of confused looks, but Google's finally seen the light. Hotpot, which has been a universally scorned moniker for a service that just about everyone called Places, is now simply lumped in with Places.
The actual differences between Hotpot and Places were nearly non-existent, especially when dealing with the mobile aspect (which was even worse, since finding and rating restaurants and other venues is typically done on a smartphone, not a desktop). When it came down to it, Hotpot was basically just the rating/reviewing system for Places -- so while it probably started off as a separate project, it was destined to be gobbled up by the bigger app from the get go.
So, now that the hideous name is over and done with, Places can go on to gain popularity alongside its older sibling, Latitude -- and we can definitely expect both of them to get a major boost now that check-in deals have been brought into the mix.