Google posts Zagat iOS restaurant guide app, makes ratings available on the web

Zagat teaser 001

The streamlining continues on over at Google. Two latest products to fall victim of the company’s re-newed focus on stuff that matters: the Shopper and Google+ Local app for the iPhone.

Basically the reincarnation of Google Places, the Google+ Local app will get pulled from the App Store next month because its features have been recently folded into the latest Google Maps update.

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.

Zagat 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)Zagat 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)

“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.

Zagat 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Zagat 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

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.

Yes, Zagat is a free download from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store.

And don’t forget to check out the redesigned Zagat website, now for the first time available with no registration or fees required.