Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

Summary: Google said that Zagat will "be a cornerstone of our local offering." Zagat is best known for its original reviews and rating service.

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TOPICS: Browser, Google
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Google on Thursday acquired Zagat in an effort to bolster its local products with the restaurant rating service. More notably is that Zagat is a content company.

In a blog post, Google said that Zagat will "be a cornerstone of our local offering." Zagat is best known for its original reviews and rating service.

There are a few key elements to the Zagat purchase:

  • Google will build out its local coverage and have reviews in more than 100 cities.
  • Google is showing that it may actually have to own some content instead of merely aggregating it.
  • As Robert Scoble noted, Zagat's reviews are social friendly and play in with Google+.

Earlier this year, Google ran afoul of Yelp. Yelp argued that Google was importing its user reviews on the Google Places page and not providing any link love. Google later removed external links from its Places page. The Federal Trade Commission is also poking around Google's actions and whether it favors its own sites over others.

With that backdrop, Google's move to buy Zagat makes sense. Zagat's will boost Google's local coverage by providing:

  • User surveys.
  • Recommendations and ratings.
  • Guides that can be aggregated into Google services and maps.

Last year, Google was rumored to be in talks with Yelp. Now it appears that Google is going for old school content brand names. You could argue that Google started dabbling with content via its purchase of ITA, but that's arguably more about an online travel database.

The Zagat purchase, which probably didn't amount to any material sum for Google, raises a few interesting questions.

  • Will Google keep Zagat's pay wall? Probably not.
  • Will Google maintain Zagat's guide publishing business?
  • Is this Zagat purchase the beginning of a series of content moves for Google? Google's timing is notable given the struggles of both AOL and Yahoo of late. Both AOL and Yahoo are building out content to differentiate themselves from Google. Now the search giant enters the content game via Zagat.

In a letter to users, Zagat founders Nina and Tim Zagat said:

Nina and I will continue to be active in the business as co-Chairs; however, the merger of our resources, expertise and platforms with those of Google will give us the opportunity to greatly 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...

We couldn’t be happier to see our baby placed into such good hands and are looking forward to being Googlers in the years ahead.

Topics: Browser, Google

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20 comments
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  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Waste of money... you don't see Amazon aquiring crappy companies or trying to compete with Groupon..
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @Hasam1991 <br><br><i>"... you don't see Amazon aquiring ..."</i><br><br>Different company. Did you noticed?<br><br>PS. <strong><i>I do see</i></strong> Amazon using Google's android tho that will tie into Google's said purchase and undercut their own.
      Return_of_the_jedi
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Right! Free Android + Amazon = Profits!

    How will Google profit from restaurant reviews??
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @Hasam1991 Zagat has managed to make money all this time on it's restaurant reviews. I'm sure that Microsoft will eventually buy rights to the Michelin restaurant guide, since it holds much more weight than Zagat in the culinary world.
      Champ_Kind
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    I just got a $ 830
    TouchPad for only $ 104.38 and my mom got a $ 1500 HD-TV for only $ 252.93, they
    are both coming with FedEx tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full
    retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 38" HDTV to my
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    GeorgeTillman
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      How proud you must be to get your sales pitch in here...
      rhtretter@...
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    There was a time, not so long ago, when if you searched for "linux" on MSN Search, the first ten articles that came up were variants on "How to convert from linux to Windows."

    I do hope that nothing like that starts happening with Google.
    Robert Hahn
  • thanks

    http://www.tutuklu.com thanks
    tutuklu
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    It's a sensible, pocket-money purchase, with instant uses in Google Maps, Google Places and Local Search.

    Yell et al want it all ways - they want the free advertising that a Google listing gives them, and they want to swipe at Google for making a profit on the side - this shows that they risk being marginalised

    Enny Fule Kno that a Google listing is the best advert on the planet - the Google-bashers may wish they'd not got greedy.
    Heenan73
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @Heenan73 Zagat has an excellent reputation, and this acquisition seems good for both parties, as Google acquires something that should compete well against Yelp, UrbanSpoon, and Yahoo Local, and the Zagats get an infrastructure that they could not hope to build on their own. <br><br>Zagat makes a lot more sense to me than Google's recent acquisition of Motorola Mobile, which cost an arm and a leg, and seems to give them mainly a huge trove of patents.
      S_Deemer
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @Heenan73

      does that translate to "any fool knows"?, and what kind of sentence is "the google bashers may wish they'd not got greedy". Is this in code or have everyone including you and teens never learned how to spell? At least use spell checker next time.
      plogan721
      • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

        @plogan721 Not eery user here is American or even a native English speaker. Yes, it does make reading some posts difficult, but they are still readable and understood to be from others outside the native English speaking world. Teens may have spelling issues, but short words like "any" are not generally spelling problems, besides teens would be using newer browsers with spell check built in for English.
        techrepublic@...
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Where is is anti-trust. That is a pure conflict of interest. No way that a search engine should be able to have "original" content. Who will they give page ranking priority to?
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @victor@... Where you been? Google is more than a search engine, uncle.
      pkhunter
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @victor@... Yahoo had been doing that for years. Same with AOL
      mchinsky@...
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Yet another competition to FaceBook, that's all. By acquiring Zagat, Google is probably trying to strengthen their Google+ social networking business. In my opinion Google is heading for a 'localised' social biz. Search engine work seems to be their future sideline.
    itsols
    • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

      @itsols I disagree. I think Social Networking has somewhat peaked. most people I know don't use Facebook or others now as much as they did in the past. The novelty wears off, whereas search is timeless.
      mchinsky@...
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Well, that's the end of trusting Zagat for anything...
    pcas9
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    Thanks http://www.chatlama.net
    chatlama
  • RE: Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business

    http://www.chatde.net Optimal
    sohbetodasi