Last week, Google purchased Zagat, the trusted restaurant-review company started over 30 years ago, for $125 million. What will this mean for Google? Well, a lot, really. Let’s take a look.
This purchase enters Google into a world that it had previously never dealt in: the creation of original content. Up until now, Google has simply aggregated already-existing content on the web. Now, with its purchase of Zagat, Google will likely have its own reviews website with its own reviews. Zagat’s format, which Google figures to keep, features in-house reviews at the top of restaurant pages and user reviews below. Google will be responsible for these in-house reviews, and thus enters the world of creating online content.
One can reasonable expect, in time, a new tab on the upper left of Google websites (where Google+, Mail, Documents, Calendar, etc. are now) for restaurants and reviews. It is an easy, simple way for Google to expand that has worked many times in the past. Further integration is possible, also. Zagat, before being purchased, had a deal with OpenTable where viewers could make reservations online. This deal will be ending, and Google is expected to try to take down OpenTable. This could likely mean that, when users search for a restaurant on Google, something like a “make reservation” button might pop up on the search results page under the link to the website. It does sound convenient, doesn’t it?
More Anti-Trust Scrutiny
Google is already being accused left-and-right of violating anti-trust laws. This expansion will only add fuel to the fire. It is to be expected, really; Google is a massive company that is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, as evidenced by this purchase, it is actively moving in new directions all the time. Will anti-trust laws be able to stop Google’s rise? Only time will tell.
There are still many questions to be answered about the purchase. Will the Zagat name stay? Will Google discontinue the hard-copy printing of Zagat guides? Will this ultimately be the end of other review sites such as Yelp? All these answers, some sooner than later, will become apparent in the near future. To stay up to date on the situation, and for all your Google news, make sure to visit the Hudson Horizons blog.