What’s Google’s strategy behind acquisition of Zagat?
I’ve seen a few ideas:
- Travel offering? Another option if the ITA acquisition falls through
- Upgraded Location Based Services? Reviews increase the value of Google’s LBS checkin service
- Local Advertising? I don’t see how Zagat significantly ads value local search
I believe the sum is greater than the parts. I think the Zagat acquisition is part of Google’s larger mission to create a full suite of services that embed itself to peoples lives.
Android already has the largest share of mobile systems. Although the Android ecosystem doesn’t have the best or most apps, Android itself does a lot of things well.
Good old search. Search is typically the start of the transaction.
This is where Zagat comes in.Â Users will value the high quality reviews that I expect are much better than the reviews available from Yelp (whose review quality is often spotty).
Google has a GroupOn like coupon service called Offers in beta.Â Most pundits are predicting the demise of GroupOn and I never understood the $6 Billion offer from Google.Â There are no barriers to entry for competitors.Â GroupOn has little competitive advantage and I believe retailers will come to see coupons as just another part of their Marketing spend.Â If Google can bundle that into their ad spending the customer has a more convenient option.
Google has check in capability with Places.Â I’m not certain that Places integrates with Google+ Circles, but it should.Â I know many people are still wary of the idea sharing their check-ins publicly and being able to share your connection with a specific circle of friends is an added safety.
Google is an early leader in Near Field Communications (NFC), also known as mobile payments.Â Google Wallet is on the way and currently testing with the Google Nexus 4G and Citi MasterCard.
After the decision making about where to go (eat, shop, hangout) has been made Google mobile users can share their activity with their circle of friends using Google+ Circles.
The mobile lifecycle makes sense to me, but I’m not convinced it’s complete.Â What is missing?
- Elegance – As typical with Google, it’s solution will be fully functional but it’s implementation will most likely miss the grace, easy of use and subtlety Apple iOS users have come to expect. I’ll be surprised if people fall in love with Google’s mobile life.
- Favorite Places – it’s a bit of a pet peeve but as a Foursquare user, I don’t think the interface does a good enough job at showing my favorite Places and matching them up with my friends favorite places.Â Google could jump on that opportunity
- Gamification – is the experience fun?Â I’m thinking of Mayorships and badges and such.Â Don’t forget the game layer.