Google Sets Deal to Buy Zagat User Review Guides
By James Shillinglaw
September 08, 2011 10:02 PM
Google is reportedly buying Zagat, the popular restaurant review guides, in a deal apparently aimed at getting more local restaurant and travel content. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. News of Google’s acquisition was posted on Zagat’s website and in a blog by a top Google executive. “We are writing to share the most exciting news in our 32 years in business. Zagat Survey has been acquired by another great company, Google,” write Nina and Tim Zagat, owners of Zagat.
Marissa Mayer, Google’s top executive for local and location services, wrote that Zagat would become the cornerstone for the search giant’s local offerings. “Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and ‘snippeting’ sentiment were ‘mobile’ before ‘mobile’ involved electronics,” she said.
The Zagats said that after spending time with Google senior management discussing 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. We believe this union is the right next step for our employees, our users and for our business, all of which will benefit from the additional resources and reach that Google provides. Going forward, we will remain active in the business as co-chairs, helping to ensure that the combination of Zagat's and Google's assets and capabilities will maximize our product quality and growth.”
Beyond restaurant reviews for cities across the U.S. and the rest of the world, Zagat also has user-generated review guides for hotels, resorts and spas (for the U.S. and the World); golf courses; Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts; and Los Angeles and New York City nightlife. Google in 2009 reportedly tried to buy at least one Zagat competitor, Yelp, in a deal said to be worth $500. It then developed Places, a Yelp-like listing for local businesses reviewed by individual consumers.