Robert_Charlton - 6:58 pm on Sep 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
Fascinating acquisition. Google gets not only Zagat content... it gets Zagat expertise, reputation, and the seeds of an extended local content model, with room for advertising, that's inherently social and which will integrate well with both Google and Google+.
Google's been using Zagat content for a while now, and I've assumed that Google has had some sort of a pay-for-content relationship with Zagat. Full Zagat reviews have otherwise been subscriber-only. Zagat reviewers (and I've occasionally been one of them) get free printed copies of the local guide. As such, Zagat knows who the reviewers are. Overall, this makes for a pretty good guide, which, while not perfect, avoids some of the pitfalls that you see (eg) in Yelp.
Google is now tying traceable identities into Google+, to provide a similar degree of accountability.
The techcrunch article quotes the Official Google Blog release [googleblog.blogspot.com...] which is worth a careful read....
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. Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and "snippeting" sentiment were "mobile" before "mobile" involved electronics.
Zagat uses human editors for "'snippeting' sentiment" in its books, and Google has been working hard on sentiment analysis, suggesting further directions in integrating Google technology with a Zagat approach on a large scale.
The Google Blog article suggests very precisely some of the other benefits to Google and Zagat...
For all of these reasons, I'm incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.