When Google bought Zagat back in September 2011, we wondered if Google would just port Zagat’s expert reviews over to Google+ and eventually shut down the restaurant-reviews service.
But Google has kept Zagat around, and today it relaunched Zagat’s website and mobile apps for iPhone and Android. And even better, Zagat’s annoying paywall that used to block its reviews from everyday eyes has now come down.
“The new Zagat features the latest news and video content from our expert local editors, curated lists – think ’10 Hidden Restaurant Gardens Around DC’ — and powerful search and map-based browsing to help you find the local gems,” Zagat head Gannon Hall said in a blog post today. “These days, the challenge in deciding where to go is not about a lack of information or user reviews but finding accurate information and trusted opinions so you can quickly make informed decisions.”
This new version of Zagat only covers restaurants and nightlife in nine cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. But Google says it plans to have Zagat cover “50 U.S. and international destinations” during the “coming months.”
Google also plans to expand the content offerings of the “new Zagat” from food and drinks to include shopping, hotels, and other points of interest.
The new Zagat will compete heavily with Yelp and Foursquare as a go-to place to find the best restaurants and things to do in cities around the U.S. That said, Zagat’s limited offering of cities are currently no match for all the recommendations Yelp and Foursquare offer their readers.
Check out the video below for more.
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.