announced that they have acquired Zagat, publisher of worldwide restaurant guides. Zagat's bread and butter has been printed guides, so joining forces with Google will bring integration with Google's powerful platform of local tools like Maps, Places and Hotpot, Google's own recommendation engine. Watch out, Yelp.Google just
The Google local apps are still relatively barebones compared to dedicated competitors like Yelp and Foursquare. Even recent additions to Google's dominant Maps tools haven't made it to mobile yet. But this acquisition, along with Google's purchase of The Dealmap last month, reveal Google's hand in the local recommendations game, and it looks like a flush.
In addition to the Dealmap acquisition, Google has pushed a handful of updates to various products this summer that make a lot of sense in light of this new announcement. Google Maps got improvements like easily shared shortlinks, and just yesterday Google announced a big expansion of its Offers program, which could prove a nice complement to its robust new ability to recommend restaurants. Savvy competitors like Foursquare have braced themselves with new features, but this content acquisition will make Google into an 800-pound gorilla of local recommendations.
The question is: Does Google play fair in local recommendations?