Google buys Zagat – is Google now a publisher?!

September 9, 2011Uncategorized

Most people in the digital space are well aware of Google’s tendency to buy just about anything they think is a good idea.

In fact, Google has bought over 100 companies in the past 10 years, several of which have been acquired in the past few months – a few examples being: Motorola Mobility, PittPatt, Zave Coupons and Dealmap.

To look at these acquisitions you can see a certain trend – Zave Coupons and Dealmap especially. These two companies are an indication of Google’s move into the ‘daily deal’ space, Google Offers. PittPatt is a facial recognition tool and an example of Google’s constant need to be ahead of the times digitally and Motorola is obviously the huge mobile phone manufacturer and will be used as part of the Google TV offering.

But what can be said about Google’s latest purchase, Zagat Guides?

Usually Google is more concerned with digital-focused companies, acquiring these brands faster than most people can send an email… but Zagat? The restaurant review guidebooks made from actual paper? It seems a bit odd…

Does this mean Google are going into publishing?

Not in the traditional sense, no. But they certainly want their content.

What Zagat brings to Google’s table, apart from being a globally renowned business with an incredible reputation, is quality consumer-focused content – and lots of it.

Google want to expand their local offering – both from the perspective of local search results/reviews and from what they can start giving back to their users in terms of discounts/offers. So, for Google this purchase increases both their ability to provide users with first-rate search results in the form of Zagat reviews and also expands their grasp of options for Google Offers.

For the rest of us, what this shows is that Google is valuing content as being a key component of digital in the future. One of the world’s best producers of top-quality restaurant review content, is in Google eyes, where the digital space is heading…

From the Google Blog:

“With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. The Zagats have demonstrated their ability to innovate and to do so with tremendous insight. Their 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.”