Google gets Zagat for an undisclosed sum, marking a new push into local business reviews and other content. The move follows failed attempts to acquire Yelp and Groupon.
Google Sept. 8
said it purchased Zagat,
the 32-year-old company that aggregates reviews on restaurants, nightspots,
hotels and other attractions from more than 350,000 surveyors around the world.
Terms of the
deal, which was announced via corporate blog post, were not disclosed.
acquisition should give the search engine company a shot of instant credibility
after it failed to acquire local review powerhouse Yelp in 2009 and group
coupon provider Groupon in 2010. Google would go on to relaunch its local
search product as Google Places, significantly improving the service with its
own recommendation engine and reviews.
Places has nowhere near the local review database of Zagat, which offers its
famous 30-point scale for restaurants and other establishments in more than 100
cities. Consumers critique everything, from the lighting, ambience and service
to, naturally, the food presentation and taste.
early on relied on pocket-sized print guides with review summaries before
striking deals with check-in service Foursquare and restaurant recommendation
integrated with online reservation service provider OpenTable and Savored for
restaurant deals. The company also created new "views" that let users
compare restaurants side-by-side using interactive charts and stats.
Now when users
search the Google Places local search service for info on restaurants and other
businesses, Zagat will be providing the consumer opinions.
forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering-delighting people
with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling
people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the
corner and around the world," Marissa Mayer, vice president of local, maps and location
services at Google, wrote in the blog post.
that the surveys co-founders Nina and Tim Zagat created for restaurants
"may be one of the earliest forms of UGC (user-generated content)-gathering
restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings
before the Internet as we know it today even existed."
spending time with Google senior management discussing our mutual goals, we
know they share our belief in user-generated content and our commitment to
accuracy and fairness in providing users with the information needed to make
smart decisions about where to eat, shop and travel," the Zagats
vowed to remain active in the business as co-chairs to help maximize Zagat's
product quality and growth.
acquisition continues a strong trend at Google, which has made several
commerce-related purchases this year. The company recently grabbed local deals provider Dealmap, loyalty card provider PunchD and-just last week-digital coupon provider
to carve a big piece of, if not own, the local search and commerce markets,
where Groupon and Yelp lurk. Both rivals are expected to go public this year.