Google buys dining ratings company ZagatBy Lee Kaelin
Google has confirmed the purchase of popular dining ratings company Zagat for an undisclosed sum. The restaurant review company will add a valuable asset to Google's existing portfolio of services as they push further into the local commerce market.
Local commerce services such as finding a nearby store and reviews of local restaurants remains a relatively untapped industry. The search giant is hoping its new acquisition will help them fill the current void between consumers looking for services, and local businesses lacking the tools to market to them.
"Moving forward, 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." said Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Local, Maps and Location services in an announcement on the official Google blog yesterday.
Zagat was founded by Tim and Nina Zagat around 32 years ago, during which time it has built up a strong reputation in the 13 countries it operates. The company provides people with a comprehensive outline on the best places to eat, drink, stop, shop and play with millions of reviews and ratings.
Google will use this immense asset coupled with Google Places in a push to adapt its online mapping and local commerce services now increasingly being used by browsers on mobile phones.
This purchase places the search giant in a strong position to corner the market by handling everything from searches, reviews, offers and payments all integrated into its Android mobile OS. Combining all of these services into the platform won't be easy, but if it's done correctly they could quite possibly dominate the market with their offerings.