Google Acquires Zagat to Beef Up Local Reviews

Google said this morning that it has acquired Zagat, which will become the cornerstone of its local strategy by offering reviews, ratings and insights for services and restaurants worldwide.

It’s unclear at this moment what Google paid, but you have to wonder if it’s anywhere near the half a billion dollars that Google offered for Yelp (and which Yelp walked away from) in 2009. Since then, Yelp has been touting a potential IPO.

Google’s Marissa Mayer, who is VP of Local, Maps and Location Services, made the announcement in a blog post.

Mayer also announced it over Twitter, using a haiku: “Delightful deal done; Zagat and Google now one; foodies have more fun!”

In the post, Mayer says more officially that Zagat gives Google “a world-class team that has more experience in consumer-based surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry.”

Zagat was founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, and since then has become a trusted voice of authority for consumers who want to know whether a restaurant or service is worth spending money on. It operates in 13 categories and more than 100 cities using its well-known Zagat rating system.

In a letter on Zagat’s site, Tim and Nina say they will continue to be active in the business as co-chairs, and that the merger of resources and platforms “will give us the opportunity to expand.”

“We have spent enough time with Google senior management to know that they fully share our belief in user-generated content, and our commitment to accuracy and fairness in providing consumers with the information necessary to make smart decisions about where to eat, travel and shop,” they wrote.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work