It was just announced that Google is buying Zagat--once the be-all-and-end-all in restaurant reviews. Their thin guidebooks have ranked restaurants and guided executives, urbanites and executive assistants since 1979. The reviews are crowdsourced by a group of 350,000 "surveyers."
But now, Zagat will be swallowed up whole by Google in order to boost its presence in the Daily Deal, and local content sector. They tried to buy Yelp a few years ago by dangling a four-star price of $500 million in front of them, but Yelp walked away from the deal.
Zagat and its 30-point scale has grown from a two-page typed list to a global empire with millions of loyal readers. However, the company has struggled to keep up with the shift of content to the Internet, arrived exceeding late to the social media party, and has a slew of competitors to deal with.
Google needs the content, but needs to keep the Zagat brand alive and relevant in order to generate traffic. As a company with a reputation for buying companies and then letting them die on the vine (anyone remember Picasa?) let's hope the Zagat brand grows and flourishes under Google.