This morning, Google announced on its blog that the company acquired Zagat, a consumer rating guide, seemingly to compete with Yelp for searchable reviews.
Besides incorrectly noting that Zagat’s reviews are “trusted” (Zagat rated KFC as having the #1 best “chicken,” despite this), Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP for Local, Maps and Location Services, explained the take-over:
…I’m incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.
Zagat’s poor rating of KFC’s “chicken” isn’t the most disturbing thing about this news. At the end of the post, Mayer tagged the announcement “acquisition”. Any company whose blog has 20 posts tagged “acquisition” is up to something. Like, take-over-the-world-and-everything-humans-use up to something.
I don’t consider myself an expert on monopolies. Google’s many applications are by no means dominating the market. Google search is not the only search engine, Gmail is definitely not the only email service and it’s clear Google+ has a long way to go before it surpasses Facebook. But, when I look closely at Google’s products, I can’t help but wonder why a company has stakes in so many fields. From Picnik to Android’s Google cell phones, it’s like the company wants something to do with every little part of our lives.
I’m no fan of Facebook’s privacy settings, but at least they’re not trying to outshine every other company in every market. Google wants to make its map feature compete with Yelp by acquiring Zagat. Picnik misspells itself just like the other photo sharing website, Flickr. And using Blogger is easier with a Gmail account.
While it seems like Google is trying to monopolize our lives instead of a single market, I can understand why this sort of thing is legal. By failing to focus on one feature, Google can’t compete with Facebook or the iPhone, and there’s no need to bust up the monopoly.
Instead of showing any serious competition to companies focused on one specific feature, Google seems to be running around with its head cut off, much like those poor “chickens” do at a KFC slaughterhouse.