Google buys restaurant rating guide Zagat Survey

Search giant acquires legendary consumer review powerhouse for undisclosed sum

Google is getting into the restaurant review business.

Zagat Survey announced on its website Thursday that it has been acquired by Google. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Zagat was founded in 1979 "as a hobby" by Tim and Nina Zagat, eventually becoming arguably the most authoritative guide in the world for consumer-rated "restaurants, nightspots, hotels, attractions and other leisure activities." (Some hobby!)

In the note to readers, the Zagats said, "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."

Yelp and other crowd-sourced consumer guides, not so much.

In a Thursday blog post, Marissa Mayer, vice president of Local, Maps and Location Services at Google, wrote, "Zagat 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."

Lead me to those ordinary experiences, Google/Zagat!

Zagat content will be immediately integrated into Google's searches and map service, Mayer said.

Mayer also noted, quite accurately, that Zagat's 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."

Not that anyone can remember that far back.

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