Last week, Google made a major move in the local search space: it acquired Zagat.
The deal, estimated at $100 million to $200 million, will bring together Zagat, whose user-generated ratings and reviews of restaurants are among the most regarded in the dining industry and with consumers alike, with Google, which is placing an increasingly strong emphasis on local content.
Google estimates that about 20% of its daily searches are for nearby businesses and offerings, and that the percentage is even higher on mobile, according to the New York Times. The Zagat acquisition will strengthen Google’s ongoing efforts to boost its Google Places platform, which it launched last year after its unsuccessful attempt to acquire Yelp, the popular local search site and Zagat’s largest competitor.
It will be very interesting to see how Google integrates and leverage the Zagat brand. At present, Zagat’s online presence is limited – and its listings on Google not high – because the site is subscriber-only. On the print side, Google said it intends to keep publishing Zagat’s printed books, which it says are very profitable – proving again that print and online complement one another in a number of ways.