Google buys Zagat to compete in a rapidly growing local commerce market


This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Google announced yesterday that it just “got Zagat rated”, a reference to its plans to acquire restaurant and review company Zagat.

Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979, the well-known guidebooks have expanded to more than 100 cities. Though late to joining the mobile app and mobile review crowd, the possibilities of Google Maps mashups and hyperlocal reviews are endless. Google has been bolstering its local offerings of late, with added upgrades to Google Places, Hotpot and Google Offers.  

In my writeup on the best apps for worldwide travel, I listed UrbanSpoon as the food app of choice. However, with this acquisition, Zagat might be poised to contribute a thorough and well-mapped option for eats around the world. As their guides have expanded from pure food to eating, shopping, accommodations and more, I’m curious to see what Google has planned post-purchase.  

It will be interesting to see how the search results will be displayed going forward and whether the Zagat reviews will be favoured in search results. As Tnooz notes:

If you do a Google search today for The Russian Tea Room in New York City, Google already displays reviews from Google users, Zagat, TripAdvisor and Yahoo, but now Google owns the Zagat content.

In late 2009, Google was in preliminary talks to acquire Yelp, but the deal fell through. 

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