It's goodbye time for Zagat. Apparently, Google is in talks with multiple companies to sell off the restaurant review guide it acquired back in 2011.
Many might not be familiar with Zagat, which is actually part of Google Maps and is currently run by a small team of Google employees. The search company purchased it for $151 million back in the day, under the supervision of then-Google executive Marissa Mayer.
Zagat: Heard Of It?
Google promptly subsumed Zagat into Maps, which added restaurant listings and reviews to the app. But it became less visible as Google slowly shifted focus to its social network and as a competitor, Yelp, rose to the ranks of restaurant curation. As a result, the name might not even ring a bell for some.
The Zagat deal would likely involve selling off the brand and website. It's not certain how much Google is charging, and there's no guarantee that Google will agree to the sale, according to sources.
To say the least, Mayer's vision for Zagat back in 2011 is a far cry from what it's shriveled into in the present:
"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," said Mayer at the time.
Zagat originated as pocket-sized guides that featured restaurants from different cities around the world. It was founded in 1979 by husband-and-wife Tim and Nina Zagat, who frequently listed restaurants they like or didn't like.
But Zagat's popularity waned over the years, in large part because of Yelp, which perhaps is still the most popular restaurant listing and review service that exists currently. Whereas Zagat featured short blurbs, Yelp was more in-depth, with users breaking down every aspect they like or didn't like about a restaurant, complete with a five-star rating system. It doesn't take a genius to realize that Yelp's system became more accepted in the internet era than Zagat's.
For its part, Google helped Zagat a month after acquiring it by redirecting mobile searches for Yelp as a way to leverage the service. But Google failed to do anything more than that. As a result, Yelp blossomed while Zagat slowly retracted into oblivion.
Any of you ever heard of Zagat? What do you think of the Zagat-Yelp rivalry? Do you suppose Google should've done more to increase Zagat's mainstream appeal? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!