Google is in discussions with community-review site Yelp, according to TechCrunch. Citing multiple unnamed sources, the site said that the purchase price would be at least US$500 million. The deal has not been signed, but sources said it was past the term-sheet stage, which means that most of the important details have been agreed to.
Earlier this week, Google introduced what is in many ways its own Yelp-like user-review feature for the also-recently introduced Places Pages for businesses. As TechCrunch pointed out, though, Yelp has all of that data already, and while Yelp has successfully monetized itself (revenues for 2009 could come in at $30 million, and the company is expecting $50 million for 2010), Google has made vast fortunes by better monetizing such content.
Like Apple, Google has a vast warchest, with some $22 billion in cash as of the September quarter of this year. Google hasn't been shy about spending that cash, either, having shelled out $750 million for advertising service AdMob in November. In 2006, Google bought video site YouTube for $1.65 billion, and has recently begun turning an operating profit on the service.