Google announced Thursday that it had purchased Zagat, the popular company that publishes reviews of restaurants, hotels, and entertainment around the world.
Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal, but the move is likely part of Google's effort to bolster its relevance to users seeking advice on the merits of local restaurants and other attractions.
Marissa Mayer, a Google V.P., expressed enthusiasm for the deal on the company's blog. "Today, I'm thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat," Mayer wrote. "Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world."
Zagat was founded in 1979 by the couple Nina and Tim Zagat. The survey published its first guidebook on New York, taking down the opinions of their friends on the city's best restaurants. Since then, the company has embraced the Internet and expanded its survey around the world, with contributions from more than 350,000 "surveyors" – Zagat consumers who send in their own reviews.
In late 2009, Google attempted unsuccessfully to acquire Yelp, another local reviews website. In recent years, Zagat has moved to compete directly with Yelp and other review companies, creating mobile apps for cellphone users and retooling its online paywall to make the site accessible to a wider audience.