Google Acquires Zagat, Aims to Topple Yelp and Others

September 9, 2011

10:39 am

Google announced earlier today it has acquired ratings company Zagat.

Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering – delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.

The collaboration will likely focus on integrating Zagat data into Google Maps and Google search, which means better tips for diners on their mobile phones.

Sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, and even Foursquare rely on user-generated content for restaurant recommendations, but Google clearly wants the authority of an established organization like Zagat, which is “instantly recognized and trusted,” wrote Marissa Mayer, Google VP of Local, Maps and Location Services.

And lest we forget, Zagat doesn’t just rate restaurants. It also features hotels, attractions, and other leisure activities, which – combined with Google’s search muscle – may be a blow to the many startups providing recommendations in those spaces. Location-based services are on the rise, and Google is making a move to be the one-stop site for finding anything locally.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founders Nina and Tim Zagat will work at Google as co-chairs.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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