Tech wrap: Google’s appetite for local grows with Zagat buy
Google bought Zagat, the popular dining recommendations and ratings authority, jumping into a niche Web market alongside the likes of OpenTable and Yelp. The 32-year-old Zagat, which polls consumers and compiles reviews about restaurants around the world, will become a cornerstone of Google’s “local offering” and work in tandem with its mapping services and core search engine, the Internet search and advertising leader said.
The Zagat acquisition also marks Google’s first foray into original content creation. Google had been accused of poaching user reviews from the likes of Yelp for use on Google Places pages, without providing a link back.
Only about half of Twitter’s 200 million-plus registered members log on daily but the microblogging website is chalking up growth of 40 percent every quarter in mobile device usage, CEO Dick Costolo said. Twitter is gearing up for a hotly anticipated initial public offering. But Costolo told reporters they would do so only on their own terms. Twitter.com now sees about 400 million unique visitors every month, a 60 percent leap from 200 million at the start of the year.
Apple sought to ban sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S and S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7 in Japan, accusing its rival of violating patents relating to the iPhone and iPad, the latest salvo in a series of patent battles between the two companies. Last month, Samsung said it would delay the launch of its latest Galaxy tablet computers in Australia until after a court ruling in late September. Last week, a German court banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7.
Hedge fund and major Yahoo shareholder Third Point demanded that the Internet company overhaul its board, saying the directors have made “serious misjudgments” and “destroyed value” for stockholders. A “reconstituted board with new directors who will bring fresh eyes, relevant industry expertise and increased investor alignment to the table is immediately necessary,” said Third Point, which has about $8 billion under management and owns about 5 percent of Yahoo shares.
California lawmakers rushed to write a bill to give Amazon.com a one-year reprieve from collecting certain sales taxes in exchange for dropping its ballot measure campaign to undo the tax, aides said. Under terms of the deal, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax on orders made by its California shoppers next September if federal legislation on online sales taxes that applies to all states fails to take shape by the end of next July.