As reported today by several techno-news sites, Google has purchased Zagat, the iconic rating service for local restaurants and hotels.

This acquisition strengthens Google’s competition with companies like Yelp for high-volume searches for local restaurants and hotels.  In addition, this partnership puts Google in the  “big leagues” with Yahoo and Microsoft as it begins to own outright the information it presents for searches, rather than just indexing and influencing the search process.

Although Zagat can be described as “Iconic” in the earlier forms of user-generated content before the Internet and search capability even existed, it has also broken into the 21st Century with its very popular website with free and subscription based services and with “Zagat to Go” apps for smartphone and iPad users.   On top of that, Zagat has partnered successfully with FourSquare for check-ins and to get reviews and comments for restaurants and hotels.  Basically, Zagat’s apps do anything and everything a smartphone or iPad user would expect of a mobile recommendation app.

The blending of Google and Zagat share some information publicly through Google,, while the rest goes to add and enhance Zagat’s premiere recommendations and advertising strength.

A statement derived from Wired.com sums it up as follows:  “Gathering up the world’s information and selling it to someone else to improve what they do?  Now that business model is classic Google.”