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Google launches local service with free Zagat content

(Xinhua)

08:37, June 01, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Google on Wednesday announced the launch of Google+ Local with free information from rating service Zagat.

According to Google's official blog, local content, which can be accessed through the new "Local" tab on the left-hand side of Google+, is now integrated into search, maps and mobile.

The local information includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people users know and other useful information.

"Each place you see in Google+ Local will now be scored using Zagat's 30-point scale, which tells you all about the various aspects of a place so you can make the best decisions," Google explained in the post.

For example, a restaurant that has great food but not great decor might be 4 stars, but with Zagat you'd see a 26 in Food and an 8 in Decor, and know that it might not be the best place for date night, it said.

Meanwhile, the content on Zagat.com is now free, and users now are recommended to sign in with a Google+ account to register on Zagat.com.

The reviewing service used to charge 24.95 U.S. dollars per year or 4.95 dollars per month for access to all of its content.

With integration of Zagat content across its service, Google is expected to build a full-fledged competitor against Yelp.com, a review and local search site which reportedly turned down a 500- million-dollar acquisition offer from Google.

Google acquired Zagat in September 2011. Although the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, the search giant reportedly paid 150 million dollars.

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