Google acquires Zagat
By Max Clarke

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has acquired the popular Zagat restaurant rating business, the search giant has announced.

Operating in more than 100 cities worldwide, the Zagat rating survey collects the views on local restaurants from some 250,000 individuals to publish their popular guides. The surprise move by Google marks a decisive step in the search giant’s efforts to enhance local offerings beyond search.

“So, today, I'm thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat,” wrote Marissa Mayer, VP, Local, Maps and Location Services in Google’s blog. “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.”

Competition with Microsoft’s Bing- whose image rich format has seen it eroding Google’s market dominance- has led to an ever-increasing range of services. This latest purchase is another step in the search engine arms race, and will greatly enhance Google Maps by offering interactive and democratic reviews of local eateries in the area.