Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeding The Search Beast: Google Acquires Restaurant Guide, Zagat

Thirty points out of thirty. That’s how restaurant guide Zagat ranked its own acquisition by Google earlier today with a now-famous dining out scale.

Zagat-o-philes, too, will likely approve of the deal, which will help Google deliver even better localized restaurant, foodie, and nightlife search results.

In a letter posted on Zagat’s website husband and wife team Tim and Nina Zagat referred to their 32-year-old company as a longtime innovator in user-generated content. “Google delivers the most relevant and high-quality information, and it's the perfect home for our content,” they wrote. “We are thrilled to see our baby placed in such good hands and to start today as official ‘Googlers.’”

But Brad McCarty, blogger for thenextweb blog rightly points out there’s more going on than just improving Google searches and an older company moving into the "next course" of its career. Besides, the Zagat app for mobile devices is already onto version 4.0.4 and the latest one was launched just last month. Are foodies so ravenous for better search results?

The purchase by the behemoth search engine – and the anything and everything portal to the web – comes some three years after Zagat reportedly put itself up for sale for $200 million but then backed out of the process. Today, Zagat will join ranks with the 100+ other companies already purchased by Google. Considering Google’s increasing forays into other travel-related ventures, there’s no telling what other markets Google plans on gobbling up next.

Advertising Age agrees, and says “the internet giant is starting to look a little more like a media company.”

The Very Hungry Google

From a PR perspective, such developments reinforce the need to make certain our clients figure prominently in Google searches. Our stories and releases must take into account search optimization and search marketing - it's no longer an afterthought, but embedded in our thinking and our products.

The web, and Google, continue to remake how we as communications experts package and deliver our clients’ messages right down to the local dining out guide.

All this talk of restaurants and dining out has made me hungry and on that note, I'm off for a bite.

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