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Google Acquires Zagat 114

Posted by timothy
from the is-anyone-yelping-this? dept.
quantr writes "Google has acquired Zagat, one of the most well-known names in restaurant reviews. Zagat is best known for its small guidebooks (the dead-tree sort) that offer reviews and recommendations on restaurants around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed." Newly accepted submitter jkirch writes with a link to Google's announcement.
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Google Acquires Zagat

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  • Sorry Yelp,

    You had a good run but it appears that Google will be destroying you in the next year.

    Yours Truly,
    A future former yelp user
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by asv108 (141455)
      Trust me, Yelp is going nowhere. Zagat is a nice legacy brand, and there was a time when their ratings were good and relevant, but that time has passed. The biggest strength of Yelp is the community. People who review on Yelp are not going to switch to Google unless there is some compelling reason. As we've seen with the failure of Google Plus [google.com], its very hard to build community from nothing.
      • by alen (225700)

        and yelp has been accused of extorting local businesses. i went to a restaurant on monday and most of the yelp reviews were so so to bad. i was surprised when i had some really good greek food.

        zagat is a much better brand than yelp and the whole crowd sourcing thing is a 50/50 crap shoot most of the time

        • by asv108 (141455)
          The "extortion" claims are way overblown. Yelp generally has very accurate reviews.
          • by stinkbomb (238228)
            Ha ha ha!

            Even funnier! You should do some stand-up!

            Oops, are you being serious again? My bad.
        • Every parent ever has been accused of being "totally mean" or "UNFAIR" by the children they're disciplining. Every cop in America who has ever arrested a person of a different race has been accused of racism. Every judge who has ever decided against someone has been accused of being biased.

          Has yelp ever been -caught- extorting anyone? Because otherwise, those accusations are just shitty restaurants whining.
          • by Macrat (638047)

            Every parent ever has been accused of being "totally mean" or "UNFAIR" by the children they're disciplining.

            Parents ask for an "advertising" payment in exchange for allowing good reviews to be posted?

      • Google Plus is still in a limited field trial, just as Facebook was for its first two and a half years.
      • by stinkbomb (238228)
        Ha ha ha!

        Wow, that's funny stuff right there! "Wisdom of the crowd", LOL!

        Wait, you're being serious?

        Uh...
      • by Omestes (471991)

        How did Google Plus fail? Sure, the hype died off, so the numbers dropped. But last I checked (quickly clicks a link); the community is still doing fine.

        Actually, when I was in Las Vegas over last weekend I posted a few things (with the location enabled), and managed to quickly grab around 2-4 followers a post, some of whom are actually rather interesting people. The same post (well, a link to the Google post, since Facebook has a completely arbitrary character limit, forcing conversations along the most

  • "Google shuts down their recently acquired restaurant reviews service"

    Well there you go folks, the claw of Google kills again.
    Who will be next!

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:40PM (#37341534) Homepage

    I watch some of those "failing restaurant" shows: Kitchen Nightmares, Restaurant Impossible, etc.

    MANY of those places have Zagat stickers in the windows, often with good ratings. And yet their businesses are dying and the TV chefs think the food is awful. Customers are scarce, so there must be a reason. Some of the problems with food quality and cleanliness might be overstated for shock value, but it never looks like the TV chef has to try very hard to find problems.

    What's up with all of these Zagat-rated disaster restaurants? Does anyone on Slashdot know what's going on?

    • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:48PM (#37341628)
      Being "Zagat rated" like the stickers say does not mean that you got a GOOD rating.
      • I assume (and it's a complete assumption), that it is like a BBB rating. These A+ rated companies pay to keep it. In turn BBB gives a rating and drives business their way. BBB Rating = Scam.
        • That's the closest thing I have seen to a plausible answer. There are some sleazy companies that I know for a fact had a lengthy BBB rap sheet, and now they are mysteriously sanitized.

          I guess the concept of an owner promoting his business through bogus, self-congratulatory reviews is older than the Internet.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      The whole point of the show is that the food is bad or the place is dirty. If this is not the case they invent drama. Customers are scarce because they chase them out if need be. They need drama so they create it if it is not there.

      Also being rated by Zagat does not mean you got a good rating. Even the worst rating they give would still mean they rated you.

      • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:48PM (#37343456) Homepage

        A successful restaurant owner does not volunteer for these "makeover" shows. If you have customers, the last thing you want is a TV crew taking up space. If your place is packed, advertising won't help. Although many of the owners have claimed the show manufactured drama, a lot of what they show would hard to create just for the camera -- unless of course it was there already. How many restaurant owners are likely to admit the findings are accurate? In the cases where the TV chef sends in a cleaning crew to address years of unsanitary kitchen conditions, it's hard to believe they brought in years of grease buildup.

        I understand there are some restaurant owners who think their only problem is marketing, so free TV publicity is all they think they need. But I know of some great restaurants that are always packed. Their success is pretty much self-sustaining (even with zero advertising) as long as customer satisfaction is high. Sooner or later something happens to break the cycle and a downward spiral begins. Very rarely is a restaurant failing due to a sudden lack of advertising.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Yeah, I think I'd even take the spotty Yelp ratings over Zagat nowadays, it's actually quite sad. I used to play with Zagat a bunch of years ago, and even maybe paid for their Blackberry app once, but it didn't really deliver the goods when we turned to it for our night out. My suspicion is that Google will simply add some of the Zagat editorial to some of the Yelp content, and maybe level out some of those 5-star crap chain listings that litter the listings of unique establishments, but I don't intend to

  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:40PM (#37341538) Homepage Journal

    Google must still defeat Shen Long to stand a chance.

  • Maybe one day the government will need to break up google also and then years later let it recombine!

    • Sorta like AT&T and cingular wireless. Yeah that'll work.
    • I love people who assume that just because google is a big corporation, they must be doing something wrong. Makes me feel like I'm not the flaming commie liberal that my midwest relatives seem to think I am.
    • by tokul (682258)

      Maybe one day the government will need to break up google also and then years later let it recombine!

      Years? Days is more likely. Cut off advertizing business and other parts will die in instant death.

  • So, when this combines with my real Google ID I can't anonymously trash restaurants online anymore? So my food can be spat in when the manager recognizes me from my picture as "that guy that wrote the detailed review of how my restaurant sucks."

    I don't think it will work out too well.

    • Re:Food ID's (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheGatesofBill (637809) <sunookitsune@kitsunet.org> on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:50PM (#37341660) Homepage
      If the food was so horrible that you trashed the place in a review, why would you go back?
      • by BLToday (1777712)

        Because you're friend's wife really likes the place for some reason. And you want to get with her cute sister so you try to spend as much time with them as possible.

      • Re:Food ID's (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MrHanky (141717) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @01:01PM (#37341810) Homepage Journal

        He didn't say the food was horrible, he just said he wanted to trash it anonymously online.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Bad reviews don't necessarily have to do with the quality of the food. The problems could be due to poor service, etc.

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        Not everyone lives in the Mission District of San Francisco with fancy, delicious places like Tartine or Delfina or Ritual Coffee on every block. Some of us out in the wastelands of suburbia have to deal with the same crappy few places (Starbucks, McDonald's) any time we want coffee out in the morning, or we have to drive 15 minutes out of our way.

        (Mind you, I'm not one of those people anymore. But.)

    • by plsenjy (2104800)

      Or, alternatively, using Google's real internet ID the manager has a very direct way to succinctly turn my trashing into constructive criticism by nipping the problem in the bud.

      Maybe it will work after all.

  • The acquisition makes sense, in that they obviously want ratings of restaurants (and other places) on Maps, and they've already changed tactics there once or twice. This'll pretty much take care of that problem.

    I start to wonder, though, whether any acquisition by Google wouldn't "make sense". Their purchase of Motorola Mobility [slashdot.org] makes sense, too (though not to everyone [slashdot.org]). When you buy a consumer electronics company and a restaurant guide in consecutive months, what won't you buy? What acquisitions won

    • HTC just filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple using patents they bought from Google, which had just acquired the patents as part of the Motorola Mobility deal. That acquisition is thus paying dividends already. It also stopped MM from following through on its threat to sue Android manufacturers for patent infringement.

      If Google puts Zagat information on Maps, it would be a killer feature. It would instantly put Google above Yelp in terms of rating restaurants.

      • The patents that google sold/gave to HTC were purchased last year. The Google/Motorola deal hasn't yet been approved by shareholders or regulators. They are still separate companies.

    • The acquisition makes sense, in that they obviously want ratings of restaurants (and other places) on Maps, and they've already changed tactics there once or twice. This'll pretty much take care of that problem.

      Yes, and no. Zagat's ratings are 'user-driven', and while not subject to the kind of spam online rating are, they have problems of their own. Restaurants off the trend line tend to not garner as high as rating as those that are on it. Restaurants tend to hang onto their ratings for longer than mig

  • Crappy Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by shoehornjob (1632387) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:58PM (#37341772)
    It took too long. The WSJ has a better one here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904836104576558600549181370.html/ [wsj.com] that's not behind a paywall. It also takes a more insightful view of the deal and who might be affected by it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Navteq, a map competitor of Google, (who provides the map tiles to Bing) uses Zagat. I'm sure they are not happy.

    http://www.nn4d.com/site/global/learn/product_catalog/poi/zagats_travel/p_zagats_travel.jsp

    • by city (1189205)
      Hmm, at least now i won't be surprised when I see Google shutting down Zagat services next year.
  • by leonbev (111395) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @01:12PM (#37341968) Journal

    When they sold out, started "reviewing" chain fast food restaurants, and started giving "Best Of" awards to places like KFC and Burger King.

    I wonder how much the big fast food places paid off Zagat to get their stickers in almost every corporate owned fast food place out there?

    • Well in Kansas City Red Lobster has a Zagots rating of great ... or so I was told.

      That is because people who vote there do not know any better or know about quality salt water sea food. They think fried is good and so is the atmosphere of family style.In Boston you would be caught dead seeing Red Lobster rated!

      I do agree that it can be manipulated. When I lived in NYC a decade ago I wanted the best Pizzeria in Manhatten. One of them had a great rating but it was TERRIBLE. Just a tiny dirty place that had a

  • by rinoid (451982) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @01:18PM (#37342068)

    Unless you are buying ads from Google you are not a user to them, you are a product to them.

    YOU ARE THE PRODUCT!

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Yes, and the same goes for everything supported by advertisements. Slashdot, for instance.

      • Watch TV, including cable? Yup. You're the product. OMFG!!!!
      • by danlip (737336)

        I may be the product, but they still have to keep me happy or else I will take my business elsewhere, then they won't have me to sell to the advertisers and they loose that business. Just like TV has to make good shows or I won't watch it. In that way I am still a customer.

    • Wait a minute, I am the product?!

      THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!

    • Next you'll be telling us Soylent Green is made out of people...
    • it's people!

    • by Intropy (2009018)
      product

      Pronunciation
      enPR: prd-kt, IPA: /prdkt/

      Noun
      1. A quantity obtained by multiplication of two or more numbers.
      2. A group of people who must be continually satisfied by your free service of else they will go be produced by someone else.

      It's okay fellas; his story checks out.
    • by Ryanrule (1657199)
      Its not that I am the product. Its that "I", specifically, am the product. That's the problem, whether or not people realize it.
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Welcome to advertising 101! Let's begin with the invention of the newspaper in 1605, where the invention of "people as a product" was invented four hundred years ago . Perhaps consider adding some commentary rather than some tired soundbyte from reddit please. Just because Rob left Slashdot doesn't mean we need to degenerate it in to yet another meme mirror.

      • by rinoid (451982)

        I don't believe this reedit thing was around when I joined /. -- pray tell troll?

  • If google now starts to throw local competence buy buying local companies into that scheme, then it gets scary.

  • Google is like the rich kid with too many toys.

    How long before Google shuts down Zagat? This can be nothing but a drop in the bucket of their global strategy. Why bother?

    As a stockholder, I'd be ticked about their endless wasteful acquisitions and distractions.

  • I suspect that what they're hoping to accomplish with this acquisition if what they were going for when they offered to buy Groupon. And that is local targeted advertising.

    But I can't help but wonder, what's the point? You mean to tell me Google couldn't build a system internally and promote it under whatever brand they create?

    Google has spent untold millions for three things: a website they'll almost certain rebuild, print publications they will now have to manage, and and established brand. It's a given t

  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:04PM (#37342814) Journal
    Well this explains McDonalds' and Burger King's new top ten rating in Zagat. Or do you think it might have to do with how much money they pay Google for Advertising?
  • You know it is gonna happen.

  • Clearly they're looking for restaurants to find the best way to cook an apple.

  • Zagat's former CTO was quite a Microsoft enthusiast. Wonder what Google's going to do with that pile of stuff.

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