Reviews from Google-owned Zagat are, predictably enough, going to be popping up in your restaurant searches above those from Yelp (and Trip Advisor), as a new mobile search function highlighting the best food and drink in various cities. Google announced the new "best of" search functionality in a blog post Saturday, and Recode notes that this is just the latest salvo in the long-standing war between Yelp and Google which Yelp argues is inherently anti-competitive, monopolistic behavior.
The SF-related search for Gary Danko highlighted by Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman demonstrates how the results display, with "Critic Reviews" from Zagat and Michelin coming up first, and Yelp reviews buried on a second page of results.
Here's the thing though: I would inherently trust both Zagat and Michelin ratings and reviews over Yelp, myself, and would prefer to see those first. I see the argument, though, that Zagat reviews are no more "critic reviews" than Yelp's are both are crowdsourced from diners, though Zagat's are hand-curated by an editorial staff.
But Yelp turned down an opportunity to be acquired by Google a few years back for $500 million, and subsequently positioned itself as a rival prompting Google to make the acquisition deal with Zagat back in 2011. That was likely a wise move on Yelp's part, in that the company was valued last year at between $2.9 billion and $3.5 billion, but they remain in questionable shape, financially, given losses posted last year of $8.1 million. Having hit rock bottom in February at $15 a share, Yelp's stock has been bouncing back in 2016 thus far, and is now double that price at $31.68.
And meanwhile Google is facing several antitrust lawsuits in the European Union, as CNBC recently reported, with both Yelp and Trip Advisor serving as complainants in at least one.