Google Buys Zagat To Support Mobile Local

Zagat

Google acquired the review and ratings service Zagat Survey, known for supporting local businesses and advertisers in the restaurant biz. The deal combines the largest search engine with a review and recommendations company. Google announced the acquisition Thursday on its blog. The service competes with Google partner OpenTable, which lets consumers review restaurants and make reservations online.

Mike Blumenthal, partner at Blumenthal.com, Olean, N.Y, points to a Google stat suggesting that restaurants make up 29.6% of mobile search queries. The buy appears to make sense, especially as location-based services are added into mobile devices and products. Features like restaurant reviews and recommendations could not only drive online searches into in-store sales, but geographic location-ad targeting, too.

"Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering," said Marissa Mayer, Google vice president of local, maps and location services.

"Zagat gives Google quality reviews to fuel business listings through Google Places," said Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo CMO. "Professional reviews, rather than biased reviews, from families of restaurant owners or competitors that weaken the signal from other review sites is what differentiates Zagat."

DataPop Co-founder Jason Lehmbeck believes the acquisition points to data and mobile consumer trends. "Similar to their ITA acquisition, the Zagat data is hugely valuable, given the quality of information they have built up over the years and their organization of all the core things that matter about restaurants, bars, and more," he said. "Just as important, more than 25% of mobile searches are restaurant-related, so Google can unlock this data asset across their growing mobile empire."

The trend stretches well beyond restaurants. Forrester Research views eBay's acquisition of Where and Groupon's acquisition of Whrrl as examples of how two Internet companies looking to develop mobile transactions will integrate location-based features into mobile products and services.

 

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