To Compete with Yelp, Google Buys Appetas (Then Shutters It?)

As part of their never-ending quest to control the entire internet, on 7 May 2014 Google acquired Appetas, a restaurant website design company that catered to small business owners. The move is seen as an attempt to compete with Yelp, as well as a sign of Google’s interest in building stronger relationships with “local” businesses.

Farewell Appetas, We Hardly Knew Ye

Appetas was founded in 2012 by Curtis Fonger and Keller Smith, formerly of Microsoft. The Seattle-based company gave restaurants owners the ability to quickly and easily build customizable websites. Appetas offered attractive, dynamic website templates that were easy to update and maintain, worked well with both PCs and mobile devices, and that could integrate delivery services such OpenTable and Grubhub and social platforms like Foursquare.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Fonger and Smith stated, “We are excited to announce that the Appetas team is joining Google. Google shares Appetas’ vision for bringing incredibly simple experiences to merchants that strengthen their business. We’re very excited to use what we’ve learned with Appetas to create something even better at Google.”

Fonger and Smith also noted that Appetas will be shutting down, effective immediately. “We’ll be reaching out to each customer individually to ensure a smooth transition” to alternative platforms, the blog post says.

closed

What’s Next for Google & Appetas?

The Appetas team will work with Google “to focus on our new endeavors,” according to Fonger and Smith. Just what these new endeavors may be is anybody’s guess, at this point, however. Presumably, the platform will be integrated with Google’s other location-based services. It seems doubtful that Google will allow Appetas’ incorporation of third-party services; Google equivalents will likely be offered instead.

The acquisition indicates Google’s interest in the restaurant game. Google bought Zagat in 2011, and may integrate Appetas into that platform to create a more comprehensive, local dining-focused service. Overall, it appears as though Google is looking to become integral to more and more aspects of web users’ daily lives.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but rumors from an anonymous source indicate that Appetas set Google back “at least fifty or sixty bucks.”

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Photo credit: Dvortygirl / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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