It appears that Google wants to build the Zagat brand—which it acquired in 2011, rather then send it off to pasture. It is often a question mark whether an acquiring company will continue to support and nurture a brand after it has been bought, or will let it wither and die after it plucks all the fruit (employees, technologies, customers) from the acquired company.
But in the case of Zagat, Google appears to be investing in the brand, giving it a digital facelift (website, apps, etc.) and dropping al paywalls and registration requirements, encouraging greater usage of the restaurant recommendation site.
Google will also expand Zagat’s content and geographies, adding reviews of hotels, shopping, etc. and expanding from nine major US cities to over 50 US and international destinations. They’re also adding OpenTable restraint booking to the service.
Clearly, Google is helping Zagat expand and become a high-end Yelp.
This sounds like a very good partnership.