September 8, 2011, 1:30 PM

Google opens its wallet again, this time in service of local search and online discounts

Restaurant reviewer Zagat and online coupon firm Zave are the latest acquisitions.

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Google Inc. today bought restaurant review provider Zagat Survey LLC, a move that could beef up the search engine’s local search capabilities. The purchase comes days after Google, which continues to boost its own daily deal offering, bought digital coupon provider Zave Networks. Google did not say how much it paid for either company.

Zagat, founded 32 years ago, provides not only reviews and ratings, but the restaurant guides seen in the pockets of tourists around the world. Google says the restaurant rating guide, built upon reviews submitted by diners, will help make Google’s local search results more relevant.

“Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world,” says Marissa Mayer, Google vice president of local, maps and location services, in a blog post announcing today’s acquisition. Zagat aggregates reviews in more than 100 cities; Google provided no further details about how it will incorporate Zagat reviews into search results.

Zave Networks, meanwhile, operates online discount and loyalty programs for several grocery chains including Harris Teeter, which operates some 200 stores in the southern United States, and A&P, which operates more than 300 stores. “Zave has developed an impressive platform to connect consumers with coupons, special offers and reward programs for their favorite business,” a Google spokeswoman says without giving details about how Google might use Zave.

The Zave acquisition comes amid Google’s increasing efforts to promote its daily deal service, Google Offers. The search engine last week gave over some of the best real estate on the web—the sparse Google search page—to a link that consumers in the New York City area could use to access local deals from Google Offers. Google also said it soon would launch Offers in 32 additional markets beyond the four in which consumers already can find the discounts.

Google’s latest spending spree, though, pales compared to the search engine’s planned $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which was announced last month. Motorola Mobility offers the popular Droid line of mobile phones, which operate on the Google-controlled Android platform.

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