Zagat, the restaurant review guide owned by Alphabet’s Google, could be put up for sale, according to CNBC reports published Wednesday (Jan. 3).
Google has held informal talks with several companies over the past few months about selling Zagat. The search engine giant paid $151 million for the U.S.-based restaurant guide company back in 2011. Any buyer would also acquire the Zagat brand name and website in the sale. It's not clear how much Google is looking to fetch through the potential sale or even if it will move ahead with the process.
Zagat reviews are currently integrated into Google Maps and its restaurant listing offering, and a small group of employees keep the Zagat.com website up and running with articles about restaurants in major cities.
The move to potentially unload Zagat comes at a time when Google is getting more into the travel market, expanding its booking features to help travelers using Google services find better rates on trips, flights and hotels. These new features will now tell users the best time to buy an airline ticket or to determine when room rates are higher, among other things.
“A recent study we did indicated that travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations — more than with any other discretionary purchase,” Google wrote in a company blog post.
While the price-tracking features are similar to those found on some other travel sites, like KAYAK and Hopper, Google is making them more broadly accessible to everyone searching for travel information on the web. Google Flights will use machine learning and statistical analysis of historical flight data to display tips under users' search results. After entering a destination, users can receive tips like “prices won’t drop further” or “prices are less than normal” to help them figure out if they should book their trips now or wait for a better price.