Google relaunches Zagat website and mobile apps
After acquiring the crowd-sourced dining guide Zagat in 2011 to much fanfare, Google has launched a revamped website and free mobile apps as part of the brand's rebirth.
The new Zagat has launched in nine US cities, with plans to expand to 50 more international destinations in the coming months.
For the first time, the app is being offered for free, no registration required.
An early look at the revamped site and a statement from Zagat, meanwhile, hints at a stronger editorial approach that may rely less on user-generated reviews, and more on local editors.
"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," said Gannon Hall, head of Zagat.
For example, already the site provides curated lists compiled by Zagat editors like the spiciest restaurants in London, news on the latest restaurant openings and reviews of dishes.
Before being acquired by Google and leaning heavily on digital, Zagat was also known as the burgundy guide for the color of its book cover and the original crowd-sourced restaurant guide, as ratings are based on reviews submitted by regular diners.
Google is also tapping into Zagat's review system in a major tie-in with its Google mapping service, as users can choose nearby restaurants based on reviews.
For its part, Michelin is likewise focusing on its digital operations, having added an instant online reservation service with Livebookings.com for listed restaurants across Europe.
The Zagat app is available on both Android and on iPhone.