Google's Zagat brand just got a redesigned Website and new apps for iOS and Android users, but it's already being criticized by some users for its limited possibilities—it features only nine cities around the globe so far for its food and restaurant reviews.
The search giant unveiled its relaunch of the Zagat brand July 29 in a post by Gannon Hall, group product manager and head of Zagat, on the Google Official Blog. Hall acknowledged the limited coverage for the new site and apps but promised more destinations would be coming soon.
"The new Zagat covers restaurants and nightlife in nine cities, and over the coming months we plan to expand to 50 U.S. and international destinations and cover shopping, hotels and other places of interest," wrote Hall. "We know that many of you are eager to have continued access to our content in these markets, so in advance of this expansion, we'll soon make our existing ratings and reviews available on Zagat.com."
One change that users are sure to like is that for the first time they won't have to register to see the detailed reviews up close, which they had to do in the past, wrote Hall.
So far, the new Zagat Website and the mobile apps for Android and iPhone cover reviews in Austin, Texas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as well as London.
The reviews so far follow Zagat tradition, with content provided by local editors who create lists such as "10 Hidden Restaurant Gardens Around D.C.," which are then made available to users along with search and mapping tools to make each destination easy to find, he wrote.
"These days, the challenge in deciding where to go is not about a lack of information or user reviews, but finding accurate information and trusted opinions so you can quickly make informed decisions," wrote Hall. "Through our digital products—and the Google products you use every day like the new Google Maps for Mobile—you can rely on Zagat's curated lists and summary reviews to cut through the clutter so you can find the perfect spot."
Some early users of the new apps and Website didn't seem to be as impressed, judging from comments they posted on the blog page announcing the move.
"The new app sucks. Only support for 9 cities," wrote Mike Thompson. "I submitted bug reports for only showing 2 restaurants in my city and they remove local content from the app. I uninstalled it since it is now useless to me."
Gianluca Fiorelli agreed. "Citing from the site: 'Zagat's editorial team curates the best restaurants & nightspot establishments in 9 cities worldwide.' Telling [us] that 8 USA cities + London is curating the best worldwide is like telling that the USA baseball league is the baseball world championship." He wrote. "Sincerely I hope Zagat will be quick adding new cities like Paris, Rome, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo … Until then, even if I like the redesign, I won't find it that useful, both for personal use both for my clients to be in."