Google is apparently in serious talks to acquire Yelp, the user-generated, local-business review site so beloved by Humphry Slocombe and certain antique and book store owners. The deal would do good things for Google's standing in the local business market -- something they've been trying to do themselves by reaching out to small businesses about ad deals and letting them create profile pages, like those already on Yelp.

Maybe Google will be able to clean up Yelp's alleged business practices and avoid future allegations of extortion? In any event, be prepared to hear stories of dentists and wine store owners from Peoria to Pittsburgh committing hari-kari on the doorsteps of people with only initials for last names. [via the NYT]