Google keeps on buying, acquires Zagat

After last month’s acquisition of Motorola, it seems Google does not hesitate to buy brand names which are much, much older than them. Google now announced that they are buying over Zagat – the people who are known for rating restuarants, but also recently hotels, shopping areas, zoos, music, movies, theaters, golf courses etc. You should have heard of the Zagat Guide, and clearly Google wants that credibility integrated with its current offerings like Google Search and Google Maps.
Here is Google’s official statement:

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 “œsnippeting“ sentiment were “œmobile“ before “œmobile“ 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.

Current there are not too many reports that indicate the pricing, but it seems Google really wanted the reviews database. So they probably ponied up big bucks. While not close to products like Yelp with its massive crowd-sourced review database, it does carry a lot more clout – the reviews are done by relative experts.
Maybe we do not need to see 200 reviews of a restaurant, and only expert opinions. Perhaps a sign of the times.