Although it's been almost two years since the search mega-giant acquired the well-known restaurant review company, on Monday Google released two new apps for Zagat as well as a revamped website. Most importantly, for the first time Zagat reviews and ratings are available for free, with no registration needed.
The new apps, for iOS and Android, feature restaurant and nightlife listings for nine cities at first (San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.), with plans to roll out the service to an additional 50 U.S. and international locations. There are also plans to expand the reviews to include hotels, shopping, and "other places of interest," which is information that has been available in the printed Zagat guides for a while.
The new site, meanwhile, will feature news and video content from local editors as well as curated lists, improved search, and map-based browsing. Users will also be able to browse a menu or make reservations via OpenTable. The site will still allow you to participate in Zagat surveys.
While Google may be putting additional focus into its Zagat offerings, it is simultaneously shutting down the Google+Local app that offered many of the same features, choosing instead to throw its weight behind the name recognition of Zagat. With other services such as Yelp providing similar information, it will be interesting to see if the new Zagat apps pick up a faithful following. Either way, you got to love having all those reviews and ratings readily available, instead of being tucked behind a paywall.