Google is taking a leaf out of Gordon Ramsay’s playbook and relaunching its Zagat website and mobile apps.
In a post on the Official Google Blog, Gannon Hall, a Group Product Manager and Head of the Zagat division announced the new Zagat, which emphasizes expert opinions on local restaurants.
“The new Zagat features the latest news and video content from our expert local editors, curated lists (think “10 Hidden Restaurant Gardens Around DC”), powerful search and map-based browsing to help you find the local gems,” Hall wrote.
In addition to the new editorial direction, Zagat is also releasing a new, free mobile app for iPhone and Android.
Google’s emphasis on trusted, expert reviews by dedicated editors draws a sharp contrast to its closest competitors, such as Seattle’s own Urbanspoon and San Francisco-based Yelp, which rely primarily on aggregating reviews.
If you’re looking for a recommendation in Seattle on your mobile device, you’ll have to look elsewhere for the time being. Currently, the app only works in nine cities, including Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Google’s blog does say that you’ll be able to access old reviews for Seattle and other cities not currently covered “soon” on Zagat.com.
Here’s google’s video promoting Zagat’s new look:
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.