September 9, 2011
Restaurant-Rating Company Zagat Acquired By Google
Google has agreed to acquire the popular restaurant-rating service Zagat in what is being called an attempt by the Internet search giant to strengthen its local business content, various media outlets reported on Thursday.
However, both they and Rachel Metz of the Associated Press (AP) confirm that the founders of the 32-year-old company, Tim and Nina Zagat, will remain as co-chairpersons of the company, which provides reviews and ratings for diners and other restaurants in over 100 cities worldwide.
In a statement posted to their company's website, the Zagats called the transaction "the most exciting news in our 32 years in business" and referring to Google as "the perfect home for our content."
"From the beginning, Zagat Survey has empowered people by providing a vehicle for them to express their opinions," they said. "After spending time with Google senior management discussing our mutual goals, we know they share our belief in user-generated content and our commitment to accuracy and fairness in providing users with the information needed to make smart decisions about where to eat, shop and travel.
The company is most famous for its print guides covering primarily restaurants but also night life and travel. However, the company also operates a website as well as mobile applications.
"We believe this union is the right next step for our employees, our users and for our business, all of which will benefit from the additional resources and reach that Google provides," the Zagats added. "Going forward, we will remain active in the business“¦ helping to ensure that the combination of Zagat's and Google's assets and capabilities will maximize our product quality and growth."
According to Tim Carmody of Wired.com, Google VP of Local, Maps and Location Services Marissa Mayer, in an official statement, said that the surveys used by Zagat to gather information "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."
Furthermore, according to Reuters' Lucas Shaw, she noted that Zagat "will be a cornerstone of our local offering“¦ people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world."
Metz noted that Google's stock was up 0.6%, or $3.19, following the announcement. It closed at $537.22 in afternoon trading on Thursday.
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