Google acquires destination content partner in Zagat

Google acquired restaurant-review specialist Zagat, saying in a blog post it “will be a cornerstone of our local offering…”


And Zagat co-founders Nina and Tim Zagat, saying “Zagat Got Googled,” announced they will stay on as co-chairs of Zagat, adding that “the merger of our resources, expertise and platforms with those of Google will give us the opportunity to greatly expand.”

“Google is the first place everyone goes when looking for information; it’s the perfect home for our content,” the Zagat co-founders wrote.

The author of the Google blog post revealing the Zagat acquisition is Marissa Mayer, vice president of Local, Maps and Location Services, and you can bet Zagat content will be part of all three.

So, in the future, when planning a trip using Google Hotel Finder, Google Places, Google Maps and local search on your mobile device, it won’t be surprising to find restaurants highlighted with tighter integration of Zagat ratings and reviews.

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.

Will it now emphasize Zagat reviews over those from TripAdvisor and Yahoo in a similar manner to the way it gives preference to Google user reviews over third-party reviews in Google Hotel Finder?

And, you can be certain that Zagat reviews and content will be part of Google’s mobile and advertising strategy as users take advantage of smartphones’ location-based capabilities to search for nearby eateries.

And, in the unlikely event that Google ever launches a travel website, all of that Zagat content sure won’t hurt.

In her blog post, Mayer refers to Zagat’s renowned surveys as “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 even existed.”

Although Zagat surveys may have been an early form of UGC, Zagat was very slow in adapting to the Internet and mobile.

However, today Zagat offers iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 and webOS mobile apps at $9.99 per download.

“… I’m incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users,” Mayer wrote.

Google will have to prove that Zagat’s trusted reputation can be maintained in a parent company that generates the vast majority of its revenue from advertising.

If it does, this deal could be quite a treat.

Terms of the acquisition were not immediately known.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  1. Dan T

    Who’s next in travel content fodors, frommers?

  2. eezeer Andre

    I don’t think Google will shoot themselves in the foot by positioning all their businesses in top stops. At least not from the get go. Most of us still “trust” Google for reliable search results. If that trust gets broken on a large scale it could cost Google.

    This could bode well for certain companies though. for example aggregate and share travel info with the emphasis on reliability. So we are looking at this in a positive light.

  3. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    John: What happens in Vegas, only @Kevin, @Alex, @me and @Google know:)

    • John Pope


      You should at least save the video evidence for your grand kids, posthumous debauchery is always a good laugh for the younger generations.

      I suspect you’ll have to edit out @Alex’s pole dancing routine though, keep it real but not too XXX real. 😉

  4. John Pope

    Nice post Dennis.

    Looks like Larry’s got Google in the fast lane of the Acquisition Super-Highway. Apparently, nothing more impulsive and aggressive than geeks with a multi-billion dollar stack of chips on his shoulder.

    Wonder if Larry will wear a Superman or God costume this Halloween? I’m long on God.

    BTW – What’s up with all the new looks for @Kevin, @Alex and @you? Did you all get arrested in Vegas together and decide to use the mugshots for avatars?

  5. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Sean: Thanks! Hey, so I guess Google tried to buy Yelp in the past and it looks like TripAdvisor isn’t for sale at the moment. So, I think you are on to something:)

  6. Dennis Schaal

    Sean O'

    Insightful instant-analysis!

    It seems like Google’s answer to Yelp and TripAdvisor being reluctant to have their ratings included in Places is for the search giant to simply to go out and buy some ratings of its own.


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