Thursday, September 8, 2011

Google acquires Restaurant Rating Service Zagat

 Google has acquired Zagat, one of the most well-known names in restaurant reviews. Zagat is best known for its small guidebooks (the dead-tree sort) that offer reviews and recommendations on restaurants around the world.

The move is part of Google’s mission to improve its local products.

Google will likely use Zagat ratings to bolster its Google Offers which is a daily deals service that was launched after Google failed to acquire Groupon. With Zagat's ratings and reviews, Google will be able to compete directly with Yelp.

Zagat was founded  in 1979, and,  now includes ratings and reviews submitted by 350,000 ‘surveyors’ — its own consumers submit content for use in future guidebooks. Recently, the company has moved its reviews online as well, and it offers mobile applications for the top smartphone platforms.

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 a democratized, authentic and comprehensive view of where to eat, drink, stay, shop and play worldwide based on millions of reviews and ratings.
Tim Zagat, CEO and Chairman of Zagat had published below announcement in Zagat website.


This may be the most important announcement in our 32 years of business: We have been acquired by another great company, Google. 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.

From its beginning, Zagat Survey has empowered consumers by giving them a vehicle to express their opinions. Today Zagat offers its succinct, curated, survey-based ratings and reviews in print, online and on virtually every mobile platform. Covering countries around the globe, Zagat has come to be a symbol of quality.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the active participation of hundreds of thousands of knowledgeable consumers. Their experiences, expertly distilled into numerical ratings and concise, witty, quote-filled reviews, provide accurate guidance for a wide range of leisure activities. We are particularly proud of the myriad corporate customers who have used our content in their marketing activities over the years.

All of the above achievements have depended on the hard work of our dedicated staff. We believe that this merger will be not only in their best interests, but also in the interests of our customers thanks to the vast additional resources and reach that Google will bring to our company. Google is the first place everyone goes when looking for information; it’s the perfect home for our content.

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.

Nina and Tim Zagat
Shares are sinking about 7.2%  for the OpenTable which is another dotcom providing online restaurant reviews and reservations.

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