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Google buys Zagat to bolster local reviews, offerings [updated]

A file photo of a Zagat sign.

A file photo of a Zagat sign. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Google has added an iconic item to its ever-expanding menu: Zagat.

Two years after its failed attempt to buy Yelp, the Internet giant acquired the 32-year-old Zagat restaurant and bar review guide on Thursday in a deal expected to bolster two of the company’s most recent ventures: Google Places and Google Offers.

The move by Google is designed to tackle local markets by promoting neighborhood hot spots on Google Places, a year-old service that bares a striking resemblance to its main rival, Yelp.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Google already offers reviews on its Maps sites, but much has been recently stripped due to legal stipulations on content.

It is expected that Google will also use Zagat to boost Google Offers, a daily deals service launched after yet another failed acquisition, this time for Groupon. Adding Zagat reviews to the Google Offers mix could generative droves of prospective new customers.

Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979, Zagat is one of the earliest forms of user-generated content.

“We are thrilled to see our baby placed in such good hands and to start today as official ‘Googlers,’” the Zagat founders said in a joint statement.

Reports that Zagat has been struggling to adapt its books to the online marketplace suggest that the deal helps the duo dodge the bullet train steadily carrying books from print to web.
But a rep for Zagat confirmed that it’s still business as usual.

“We’re still in New York and plan to continue printing the books,” he said.

(with Tim Herrera)

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