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Google Giving Away Free Zagat Ratings In Search Results

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google gives away free Zagat ratings in search results - Technology & science - Security - msnbc.com (click for full article)

    "Google is adding a new entree to its menu: Free restaurant ratings from the Zagat review service.


    Zagat, which Google bought in September, was charging $25 annually or $5 monthly for online access to its survey of diners. Those diners have rated about 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 cities around the world.


    The reviews will be available for free on Zagat.com as well as several services on Google's website as part of a change announced Wednesday.


    "Now, the world's highest-quality reviews are available to more people, whether they are at their desks or on the go," Zagat founders Nina and Tim Zagat wrote Wednesday on their Google+ page.


    Zagat will still charge $10 a year for using an application designed for Apple's iPhone and iPad, although Google indicated it may eventually drop that fee. After a six-month free trial, Zagat charges $25 annually to see reviews on its app for mobile devices running on Google's Android software.


    The Internet fees helped protect sales of the burgundy-colored guides that Zagat has been putting out since its 1979 inception. For now, Zagat still intends to publish the guides, which were listed Wednesday on Amazon for $8.75 to $16.


    Google acquired Zagat for $151 million in September to compete against Yelp's popular online rating service. Google and Yelp are battling to attract more traffic to spur more sales of ads to neighborhood merchants.


    Yelp explored a possible sale to Google for a reported $500 million in 2009 before deciding to go its own way. The two companies have since become prickly rivals, driven by Yelp's allegations that Google rigs its search results to favor its own services over its competitors.
    The Federal Trade Commission is looking into the complaints lodged against Google by Yelp and other Internet companies as part of a broad antitrust investigation.


    The decision to turn Zagat into a free online service comes as part of Google's expanded local business listings in its search results and the Google+ service. The overhaul is being billed as "Google Plus Local" as the company continues to promote a social networking alternative to Facebook's popular online hangout.


    A search request for a restaurant that has been reviewed by Zagat will now trigger a listing that includes a breakdown of the service's ratings. Zagat's scoring system provides separate ratings on a 30-point scale for the quality of food, decor and service in a restaurant.
    The new business listings, which will also appear on Google's online mapping service and mobile device applications, will also include any pertinent recommendations from within a user's contacts on Plus."
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google Launches Google Plus Local With Zagat, Not Fully Baked | TPM Idea Lab (click for full article)

    "Use Google Plus? If you're a business owner that wants some control on how your company appears on the most popular online map in the world, Google Maps, it's now basically a requirement.


    That's because Google on Wednesday announced Google+ Local, the company's latest effort to push its Google Plus social network onto the screens of Web users.


    In one fell swoop, Google converted all of its previous online location listings for milions of businesses, called Google Places, into Google Plus Local pages. Google communicated this change to business owners through a post on its "Google and Your Business Blog":


    "With one listing, your business can now be found across Google search, maps, mobile and Google+, and your customers can easily recommend your business to their friends, or tell the world about it with a review," wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, a VP of engineering at Google.


    But besides automatically signing up every previous Google Place business to Google Plus, the company added the fruits of a recent acquisition: Now many businesses will also receive a Zagat score from 1 to 30 (higher is better) based on numerous factors about their business, from service to decor.


    The new reviewing system, which does away with Google Places' previous five-star rating guide, combines Zagat's system with older user reviews made using the star system, converting the older reviews into the new system in a bit of basic arithmetic (multiplying by 10).


    "All of Zagat's accurate scores and summaries are now highlighted on local Google+ pages," wrote Avni Shah, a Google director of product management, in another blog post on the new Google Plus Local, "Each place you see in Google+ Local will now be scored using Zagat's 30-point scale, which tells you all about the various aspects of a place so you can make the best decisions."


    Google posted a video outlining how the new review system aggregrates and distills individual reviews into one main review for each place.





    Aside from making clear use of Zagat, which Google acquired, reportedly for around $125 million, back in September 2011, the launch of the new product again underlines Google's commitment to popularizing its social network, despite some initial reports indicating that users weren't taking to it.


    But while Google has done a nice job of integrating existing businesses Google Places content into the new Google Plus layout, not all of the integration appears to be quite as seamless."
     
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