The well known restaurant and travel review company Zagat now has a new owner. Google announced today that it has acquired Zagat, with the company’s vice-president Marissa Mayer saying that Zagat’s reviews “will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.” Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Zagat was first formed in 1979 by the husband and wife team of Tim and Nina Zagat. It started by offering a restaurant guide for New York City. It has since expanded to include reviews of a number of travel and entertainment-themed destinations (hotels, shopping, movies, etc) in over 100 cities around the world. Back in 2008, the company put itself up for sale for $200 million but at the time it found no takers for that price.
In today’s announcement, Google’s Mayer said, “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 ‘snippeting’ sentiment were ‘mobile’ before ‘mobile’ involved electronics.” Mayer added, “For all of these reasons, I’m incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.”