Google Adds Zagat to Its Local Buffet

zagatGoogle has purchased Zagat for an undisclosed sum. The development comes three years after the 32-year-old restaurant reviews brand was shopping itself around, reportedly for $200 million.

With the purchase, Google dives deeper into the content game, as Zagat offers consumer surveys-based eatery reviews for all 50 U.S. states and 24 other countries. In its blog post announcing the move, the Mountain View, CA-based company enthuses about Zagat’s usefulness to its search scheme and Google Maps. It’s also reasonable to assume there will be a significant Zagat integration into the daily deals product, as the search giant escalates its rollout of Google Offers.

But Zagat, once dubbed “The Gastronomical Bible” by The Wall Street Journal, may not have the market presence it possessed just a few years ago. Free-to-use social media competitors like Yelp and Foursquare have seemingly cut into subscriptions-based Zagat’s online market share as a go-to source for restaurant patronage decisions.

For instance, according to comScore’s numbers, Yelp’s unique visitors traffic jumped from 23.4 million to 33.3 million for July 2011 year-over-year, a 42 percent gain. Zagat, on the other hand, dropped from 298,000 visitors to 238,000 this year vs. last year for the same month.

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