updated 12:20 pm EDT, Thu September 8, 2011
Google acquires Zagat for mobile, Offers
Google made an aggressive leap Thursday with the buyout of Zagat. The deal gives it the pioneering hotel and restaurant rating guide firm for an undisclosed amount. Google was unspecific about exact details but said Zagat would be a "cornerstone of our local offering," according to Location VP Marissa Mayer.
Nina and Tim Zagat said they would still serve as co-chairpeople but would cede some control to Google. The shift would be an "opportunity to greatly expand," they said.
Reviews and location details already have an important role to play in Google's current strategy, which focuses on place pages that provide both the basics as well as ratings and reviews. It has usually based its information on strictly ad hoc reviews from those making voluntary posts, though, and hasn't had the depth of a service like 32-year-old Zagat.
The move could shift how place ratings are handled, most of all in mobile. OpenTable is currently one of Zagat's few big competitors in the mobile space and now faces a bigger rival even as it might get extra business from companies wary about putting their ratings solely in the hands of Google.