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Google acquires Zagat

     
4:10 pm on Sep 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has acquired Zagat, one of the most well-known names in restaurant reviews. Zagat is best known for its small guidebooks (the dead-tree sort) that offer reviews and recommendations on restaurants around the world. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

[techcrunch.com...]
4:56 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Does not exactly seem a natural fit. Google is not (on the whole) in the business of writing content, so why make this sort of acquisition?
5:31 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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why make this sort of acquisition?

Local stuff? Prop up Google Places?
5:34 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is in the process of acquiring ITA Software [news.cnet.com], the air travel company for their data. Google has been edging toward becoming a content provider, a destination for content. Yahoo provides it's own content. So perhaps it's natural that Google eventually goes down this path, too.

The door is open. What next for Google?
5:42 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is it me, or are they morphing into Yahoo?

Perhaps they could acquire Yahoo at a knock down price and buy into all that content.
5:56 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They can't get Yahoo, because it will be blocked by regulators.

G Places is a crappy product, will land G in the hands of anti-monopoly regulators singlehandedly.

Maybe G needs other businesses that make hard cash flows, and Zaggat seems to be generating cash. But it is just a drop in the bucket. Then again, oceans are made by lots of drops.
6:58 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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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.
7:20 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Seems to be some sort of fit with google places especially the review aspect of things
7:21 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What next for Google?


Taking risks.
7:55 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>>Google has been edging toward becoming a content provider

I would say slightly faster than edging. It appears full throttle on content... as it seems obvious that content rules. They will knock off the top spots one-by-one until most major market internet sales will somehow be funneled through Google.
9:52 pm on Sept 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There is a new generation of content arriving. That which is true and quality, and that which is not. Most is not, and Google wants to possess the high ground, with quality for advertising to take place on, under their control in all verticals.
2:45 am on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This is NOT a move you make to prop up Google places, imo, the move is more of a piece in the puzzle of REPLACING website search results with a one stop review center. If your website covers 'local' take heed, Google aims to be your new yellow pages. Search is grand but shopping and advertising makes you rich, google knows this.

This will converge when they get the geo targeted mobile advertising up and running. You'll be walking down the street and your phone will call you to say "hey, we found a 33% discount on widgets located 1.2 miles from your current location and our records indicate you love widgets, don't miss out, here's the reviews".

See? Search is soon to be obsolete and it may very well be Google that kills it. The biggest danger to a Google run future is people unplugging from Google. Think about it, google wants to be your mobile phone, your browser, your ad server, your map and geo-targeting center and it has been building the pieces for many years. They just recently ditched products that don't fit into the mold and are picking up the pace. A well respected review service was needed to give their word a measure of worthiness when they tell you about bargains. google has been great at regurgitating a wide assortment of data but lousy at saying anything meaningful of an original nature, Zagat changes that.

Sounds like a lot of tinfoil hat speak but look at the puzzle pieces, they're almost together now.
5:23 am on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Makes sense -- hotels first...

[google.com...]

...now restaurants.

PREDICTION: next will be realtime airfare comparisons.
9:40 am on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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can't understand !
10:29 am on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The only thing to understand is that once Google tips the scales a bit further it will be time for any producer of original content to block Google from indexing their site and seek out a new search engine to "organize" their information.

The reality is Google has shifted gears from simply "organizing the world's information" to "controlling and monetizing the world's information".

Site owners will have to ask themselves --

When is it time to stop feeding the hand that bites you?
12:54 pm on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a big fan of this move. Seems like the G is taking things a bit too far. I guess the next thing for them is travel and real estate.

I agree, seems like they are trying to turn into Yahoo.
11:52 pm on Sept 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Why not just buy OpenTable? They could sneeze and pay 2x it's public value
2:23 am on Sept 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Zagat owns decades of historical dining data and probably many hundreds of thousands of pages of traditional media editorial content.

Google can knock off code for a service like OpenTable in a matter of days if they want... Generic lists of data, (business names, addresses, phone numbers, etc), are not copyrightable.

...original content is still king.
3:42 am on Sept 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Aside from the visual presentation and data, it looks like quite a solid business model, from the little I see.

But sometimes i wonder what happens to all of those previous acquisitions. Sometimes we don't continue to hear about the connections with Google later .
6:17 am on Sept 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The only thing to understand is that once Google tips the scales a bit further it will be time for any producer of original content to block Google from indexing their site and seek out a new search engine to "organize" their information.

The reality is Google has shifted gears from simply "organizing the world's information" to "controlling and monetizing the world's information".


Exactly. At least Yahoo! doesn't tend to stuff its top listings with things like "places", not that I've noticed anyway.

At some point one of these govt investigations needs to draw a line in the sand as to how much of its own content a search engine may feature in their own results. Generally, I don't think such a rule or ruling would be a good thing but it may be much better than the same company that provides the gateway to so much information, stuffing its top results with its own information and web properties.
10:56 am on Sept 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In an ideal world search engines would be separately owned from ANY content provision.

As things are Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all in the search and content businesses, there are no challengers that are any better. Even the smaller search engines hand pick sites to favour.

At least Yahoo! doesn't tend to stuff its top listings with things like "places", not that I've noticed anyway.


Try typing a US stock symbol into search.yahoo.com

Oddly enough Yahoo UK search does not work for UK TIDM codes, unless you suffix a .L to form the Reuters code (e.g. AZN.L), but it will work for some US codes without the suffix.
10:17 am on Sept 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I may not be surprised to know one of this days they will take on hotel, travel, airline, power, real estate, banking and finance contents and integrate all this stuffs into Google and Google+.
10:33 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's already at an advanced stage of strategic establishment.
10:41 pm on Sept 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's all about "don't beat'em, buy'em!" and that's the way it is.

Google's Secret Playbook, pg 1
 

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