Published reports have Internet titan Google once again looking into the possibility of acquiring Yelp, a site that provides local business and event information, search, and user reviews of businesses and events. Google is apparently looking to Yelp as a way to bolster its location-specific information offerings—information that’s particularly relevant to Google’s mobile services and mobile advertising businesses.
Google and Yelp have had acquisition discussions in the past; the New York Times reports that the acquisition price could be over $500 million. Neither Google nor Yelp have commented on the reports.
Yelp was founded in 2004, and claims to have about 26 million users every month in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, who have produced more than 8.5 million reviews of local businesses and events.
Industry watchers are somewhat divided on the prospects of Google acquiring Yelp; some view such an acquisition of being a significant gain for Google, enabling the company to bolster its local and regional search and mobile offerings and bring social networking elements to its mobile offerings. On the other hand, some view Yelp’s service as somewhat under-populated and rather narrow: if you happen to live or work in a place with a large population of Yelp users whose tastes match your own, the service may be useful: otherwise, it’s just one more thing to wade through on the way to information that might really help.