Reviews have been the lifeline for brands climbing to the top of search query results.
Reports on Wednesday suggest Google could possibly sell Zagat, a restaurant-review business the company acquired in 2011 for $151 million. The strategy would require support from the Google+ social network.
Some 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day and positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more, according to data from BrightLocal.
With the integration, the company was looking to grow Google+ as a social network, and also intended to use the data from Zagat in a variety of its platforms, such as Google Maps. It helped the mapping platform focus on location, reviews and user-generated content.
At the time, reviews determined the Google+ Local based scores — Excellent, Poor, Fair — using Zagat's 30-point scale. Google took the ratings, created an average, and then multiplied them by 10 to arrive at averaged scores.
Meanwhile, Google has been developing its own rating and review technology in everything from restaurants to home improvement services.
This is all par for the course as Alphabet continues to shed its portfolio of smaller companies. Last June, it sold Boston Dynamics and Tokyo-based Schaft to SoftBank Group Corp., Reuters notes. Last February, it announced it would sell the satellite imaging business, Terra Bella, to Planet Labs.