Google Acquires Restaurant Reviewer Zagat

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Google has gobbled up restaurant review outfit Zagat, in their latest Pacman-like gobbling juggernaut. Since June 1st of this year, Google has acquired no fewer than PostRank, Admeld, SageTV, Punchd, Fridge, PittPatt, Dealmap, Motorola Mobility (if approved), Zave Networks, and, now, Zagat.

In fact, Zagat will be Google’s 20th acquisition this year, and they still have three and a half months to go. And Zagat is the 102nd company acquired by Google in the past 8 years, with half of those acquisitions occuring in just the past two years!

Google had tried to buy Yelp about two years ago, but that went south. Zagat, publishers of regional restaurant guidebooks, also has an online presence, allows users to vote on restaurants, and offers a mobile app, much like Yelp.

Says Google of the acquisition:

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With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. The Zagats have demonstrated their ability to innovate and to do so with tremendous insight. Their surveys may be 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 today even existed. Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and “snippeting” sentiment were “mobile” before “mobile” involved electronics. Today, Zagat provides people with democratized, authentic and comprehensive view of where to eat, drink, stay, shop and play worldwide based on millions of reviews and ratings.

And Zagat had this to say:

ZAGAT, a “pioneer in user-generated content” and creator of the world’s most “influential” and “trusted” consumer reviews, has been acquired by another “renowned innovator,” GOOGLE; by combining their content, resources and platforms, this “dynamid duo” plans to optimize the potential of the ZAGAT brand while offering “new ways” for consumers to “express their opinionis” and “make informed decisions”; “thanks go to the millions of people” who have enerousely “shared their experiences” with ZAGAT over the years – we’re confident they will enjoy the “next course.”

We hope that Zagat’s reviews are more original and well-written than this statement. You can almost hear the air quotes – and we couldn’t make this writing up – here is a screen shot of their statement:

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Bad writing aside, it will be interesting to see what Google does with them.


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