Earlier this month, internet titan Google acquired guidebook publisher Zagat for a reported $125 million. Zagat has been publishing restaurant guidebooks for over 30 years, and has had problems breaking into the online reviewing world, with Yelp being their biggest competitor—problems that Google is well prepared to address. Google apparently saw value in Zagat’s groundbreaking business model, its user-generated content, and local way of doing business. Zagat distills user-generated feedback into trustworthy reviews not only for restaurants, but for everything from hotels to golf courses, shops, and nightclubs. Combined with Google Places (a Yelp-like review service), and Google Maps, users will soon be able to find the best and most popular local sights and destinations wherever they are.
The potential for interactive apps for smartphones and tablets, e-books for e-readers, and searchability for the best places in town are nearly boundless for Google/Zagat. Zagat’s physical guides will still be printed, with Google intending to expand the Zagat team, which includes sales staff, fact checkers, contractors who conduct surveys, and hundreds of thousands of reviewers in more than a hundred cities worldwide. The walls of the traditional publishing house just expanded exponentially.
http://www.businessinsider.com/google-zagat-is-about-content-local-and-travel-2011-9 – Business Insider
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/09/business/la-fi-google-zagat-20110909 – Los Angeles Times
http://www.allbusiness.com/sales-marketing/advertising-marketing-pr/16672638-1.html – AllBusiness
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/google-to-buy-zagat/?emc=eta1 – New York Times