Google have launched a new local recommendation platform, known as Google Hotpot.
To access, you must be signed into your Google account, and then set your public nickname (ie provide Google with more personal data). Once you're in, you can search for places, restaurants, whatever and rate them (and not just Chinese despite the name). Basically, a similar platform to Yelp.
The idea is, if you search for something generic such as "restaurants", it will bring back local results with their average rating out of 5 stars. This average rating is collected from user reviews on Google, Qype, tripadvisor and other services Google uses for its Places platform.
Apparently, these results are also affected by your friends' reviews. Unfortunately, I have no friends on Google to give you an example of this. But why Google thinks I have the same taste in food and music as my friend Steve, I don't know.