Google Gobbles Zagat

September  8,  2011 / By Taylor Blog

This morning, Google announced it acquired Zagat for an undisclosed sum.  According to a blog post by Marissa Mayer, VP, local, Maps and Location Services at Google, this will “bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.”
BookCo+Zagat+Guides 

As someone who is always seeking recommendations for new/awesome restaurants, I can’t wait to see what the collaboration brings.  Maybe a new layer for Maps?  An Urbanspoon inspired mobile app that helps you pick a restaurant based on your location, type of food, Zagat rating and who knows what else?  Will Google+ be integrated?  Hopefully they don’t keep us waiting long!

For many reporting on the industry, there seems to be a bit of déjà vu to Google’s 2009 failed attempt to acquire Yelp for $500 million.  This is clearly a replacement for that – and given where Google is today, a better one in my opinion.  Now they have the opportunity to fuse the trusted insight of Zagat with consumer recommendations and feedback.  A powerful combination.

Let’s take a quick step back to September 2, when Google began its “fall spring-clean” process.  As announced on their latest earnings call, Google shutting down a number of products to streamline its focus to others.  Another post on Google’s blog explains “This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.”

Today’s acquisition of Zagat makes it clear that Google Offers and other similar products/project will continue as a high priority for the company heading into 2012.  Perhaps it became an even higher priority given the issues (postponement, leaked memo and other dramatics) Groupon has run into around its IPO?  It might be a coincidence, but as you may recall, Groupon, like Yelp, also rejected a Google acquisition offer (for $6 billion!).

Photo Credit: Coffee Talk Expo Breakfast.com

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