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Google acquires Zagat

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Google announced Thursday that it has acquired Zagat, the food-rating survey that is a go-to source for foodies everywhere.

In a company blog post, Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for local, maps and location services, said that the search giant will integrate Zagat content with its search results and the company’s maps service.

On the Zagat Web site, company founders Tim and Nina Zagat said in a statement that Google is the “perfect home for our content.” The couple will remain active with the business as co-chairmen, the statement said.

The acquisition helps Google move into the market cultivated by Yelp and other locally focused dining review sites. Google has shown interest in review sites before -- in 2009, it reportedly offered Yelp a $500 million acquisition deal. Yelp declined and is now said to be considering an IPO.

The Zagat 30-point rating system was started as a hobby in 1979 by the Zagats after a dinner party with friends. According to the service’s Web site, the couple’s dinner guests were complaining that newspaper restaurant reviews were unreliable, leading Tim Zagat to suggest taking a survey of their friends’ opinions on dining venues. The survey now reviews restaurants in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Zagat recently revamped its Web site to give users more powerful search tools, and it launched its own deals service — an area in which Google is slowly but steadily expanding.

Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal, including just how much the review service was worth to Google. The Wall Street Journal reported that the couple had tried to sell the company in 2008, but could not find a buyer. At that time, according to the New York Times, the company could have been valued at over $200 million.

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