Continuing to make huge strides in their local offerings, Google has acquired review pioneer Zagat. Unlike many of Google’s acquisitions, 32 year old Zagat is widely divergent from the young, hip startups we usually see associated with the search giant.
Zagat, started as a print guide to dining, has recently started competing more in the Internet and mobile app spaces. The company’s impeccable reputation combined with Google’s audience is sure to create a winning combination. Founders Nina and Tim Zagat share on their website that “Google delivers the most relevant and high-quality information, and it’s the perfect home for our content.”
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I’m very excited to see this partnering. I am hopeful that Zagat ratings on Google Maps will add a nice element to the user experience, offering concise and accurate descriptions along with location data. The cynic in me is concerned about gamed and paid for ratings, and a decline in Zagat’s stellar reputation. My guess is that things will land somewhere in the middle.
Where does this procurement leave Yelp? It is no secret that Google attempted to purchase Yelp in 2009, think Yelp is rethinking that one yet? Yelp is currently a pretty big player in the local review space, viewed as young and hip. Zagat tends to be viewed as older, but more sophisticated. It looks to me like reputation beats hip on this one.