This morning, Google took the wraps off how it plans to use Zagat, the popular restaurant guide known for its burgundy pocket books. The Zagat restaurant listings are now incorporated in Google + and its local service and, more to the point, are now free. People can access more than 35,000 summarized user reviews from Zagat for more than 90 cities across the globe using either Google +, its search function or through maps.
Google said it will continue to publish the guidebooks and expand to other cities like Dubai, Sydney and Melbourne.
Google picked up Zagat for $151 million last September in a move to broaden its offerings for local based content. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat, the 30-plus year old eponymous guide takes customer surveys and compiles them into brief and snappy summaries . It was a pioneer of amassing local restaurant reviews by people but over the years it faced stiff challenges from upstarts such as Yelp– especially when a majority of Zagat’s content was subscription based.
The Zagats put the company on the block in 2008 where it languished until Google swooped in and bought it to bolster its local and mobile offerings.