Google added free Zagat ratings to its new "Local" tab on Google+ today, allowing users to search for specific places or browse for nearby businesses or services.
"If you click on a restaurant, or a museum (or whatever), you'll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know, and other useful information like address and opening hours," Google's Avni Shah said in a blog post, reported Agence France-Presse.
According to the Associated Press, Google bought Zagat in September for $125 million. The restaurant review company had been charging $25 annually or $5 monthly for online access to its diner surveys. The diners have rated 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 cities across the world. The now free reviews will be available on Zagat.com as well as through several of Google's services.
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"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+ social-networking page, said the AP.
Since debuting last year, Google+ has been trying to move in on Facebook's social networking turf, but hasn't made much of a dent in the sector, reported The New York Times. Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for local search and maps, said 20 percent of all Google searches are for nearby information, and 40 percent for those using cell phones. Local online advertising is said to be a growing market worth $140 billion per year.
"Getting local search right is important, and to do that you need great reviews," Mayer said to the Times.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Google+ Local might feature other perks in the future, such as a way to put more variables into reviews.