Finally, Google thinks like a publisher.
Google just bought survey giant Zagat last week, and it's all about beefing up the content that Google serves its users like restaurants serve your favorite steak just the way you want it. Before online review sites were afloat, Zagat was the purveyor of recommendations, reviews, and consumer-based surveys. In a nutshell, Zagat was the customer's guide to anything and merchants consider it their bestfriend. Zagat was founded by Tim and Nina Zagat 30 years ago, and is now has established itself as a trusted brand on the planet.
Now that's a big label to be attached on a brand. So why is Zagat considered a trusted brand? Zagat puts a premium on surveys and reviews which are considered user-generated content. UGC brings premium on any content aggregator like Google. In this age of social business, UGC is fuel to social media networks, blogs, and social bookmarking sites. Content is king. It's the very lifeforce of the Web. Without content, there's no need for search engines. No need for blogs and feedbacks. No need for QWERTY keyboards. That's why content is king.
As the world becomes more social everyday, consumers tend to read and listen to content such as recommendations and reviews from fellow consumers as well. Even big companies like Dell and Gatorade puts a premium on user-generated content, they know it matters because consumers matter. Trust begets trust, and Zagat capitalizes it. The question is – will Google be able to amplify it?
What's notable in the Zagat acquisition is the social networking dimension to it, Zagat's community has organized itself like any other community on a social network. So with the Zagat acquisition, Google's bound to enhance Google Offers, Google Places, and Google Wallet. With a great amount of user-generated content comes tremendous growth, imagine hundreds of reviews and recommendations attached to Offers and Places which will give small and medium businesses that needed local boost. The synergy of Social Media and SEO will improve businesses as content like reviews and recommendations will fuel their social presence on the Web. With this in tow, I won't be surprised if Facebook enters a deal with Yelp.
Finally, Google thinks like a publisher but not without social substance. The Zagat acquisition only strengthens Google's grasp on the social Web. Welcome to Google's take on social media.