Google purchases Zagat

Zagat, the popular restaurant reviews service was purchased by Google this past week. Though terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, Google users will begin to see Zagat’s content integrated in Google searches and Google Maps.

A New York- based company, Zagat offers a variety of reviews, ratings and insights on restaurant, bar, and hotel experiences both around the corner and around the world, according to Marris Mayer, VP of Local, Maps, and Location Services at Google. The service operates in 13 categories in more than 100 cities.

Nina and Tim Zagat will remain active in the business as co-chairs. They write,”The merger of our resources, expertise and platforms with those of Google will give us the opportunity to greatly expand. We have spent enough time with Google senior management to know that they fully share our belief in user-generated content, and our commitment to accuracy and fairness in providing consumers with the information necessary to make smart decisions about where to eat, travel and shop.”

Zagat’s competitor, Yelp, a user-generated website, walked away from a $550 million deal with Google in 2009. In mid-2010, Google removed Yelp’s reviews from Google Places.