Although Places lets you use your voice to search for nearby restaurants and businesses, it became the prime candidate for removal after Google had bought Zagat in September 2011. And just like clockwork, Google on Tuesday issued a standalone Zagat app for iOS and Android devices and for the first time has made those reviews available on the web, free of charge…
Established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a way to survey friends and correlate their succinct ratings of restaurants, Zagat has grown to become one of the top restaurant guides on the web.
Following the Google acquisition, Zagat reviews and ratings have been folded into Google’s services. The official app now expectably taps the powerful database with more than 34 years worth of Zagat ratings.
In its 1.0 release, the software includes nine major cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Over the coming months, the service should expand to 50 U.S. and international destinations and cover shopping, hotels and other places of interest, as per the Zagat blog post.
“No need to wade through dozens of reviews – we’ll tell you in a nutshell what other people are saying,” the blurb reads. The recommendations include the hottest openings, lists of weekend ideas, how-to videos, chef interviews, and more.
Here are the key features:
• Expert-selected lists of places to go for nearly any occasion, mood, and craving
• Reviews and ratings you can trust
• Constant stream of entertaining articles and videos delivered throughout the day
• Advanced search tools to help you find exactly what you want
• Menus to read before you go
• Reservations through OpenTable
The software definitely adds another layer of competition. For instance, Zagat integrates reservations through OpenTable, a feature Apple added to Siri last summer.
Conversely, with Zagat under its wing Google has definitely surfaced as a premium local brand, which should give the likes of Yelp and OpenTable a pause.
And don’t forget to check out the redesigned Zagat website, now for the first time available with no registration or fees required.