Editors' note: This review was updated July 30, 2013, to cover the features added in the latest version.
After a major overhaul, the Google-developed Zagat app for Android continues its pursuit of Yelp in its domain of mobile-device-accessible restaurant and business reviews. One thing it has in its favor is its reputable scoring system, which is broken down into three categories: Food, Decor, and Service. To me, this system is superior to a single, catch-all star rating like Yelp's. But despite that advantage, Zagat still has some work to do if it hopes to supplant the current frontrunner in the space.
To get started with Zagat, you no longer need to sign in with a Google+ account, which should be a relief to Zagat fans who were initially reluctant to use the mobile app. Now, you need only pick a location from the list on the opening screen to get started. Of course, the bad thing is that this list is limited. As of now, it only includes major cities like San Francisco, Boston, London, Los Angeles, and New York City. So, if you're not located in or near one of these cities, you're out of luck.
Zagat's other major limitation is that it only covers two major categories of businesses at the moment: Nightlife and Restaurants. While these two categories are certainly important, the lack of others is sure to turn potential mobile users to competing apps like Yelp, which have more complete coverage. That said, Google does plan to add other categories like Hotels and Shopping, as well as other cities in the future.
With the new design of Zagat comes a new focus on editorial content as well. Of course, reviews will always remain the core of Zagat's offering, but now the app is also a great source for "best" lists, videos, and other pieces of content curated by Zagat staff.
For the most part, Zagat's interface is simple. There's a search bar at the top where you can input keywords or a specific restaurant's name, and on the side, there's a sliding menu that lets you jump to Lists, Videos, Buzz (news), and other departments within the app.