Google Buys Frommer's: A Step Too Far?


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Is Google's purchase of Frommer's a step too far? Does this bring them one step closer to gaining a monopoly on Internet travel research? Details inside.

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Google Buys Frommer's: A Step Too Far?

  1. 1. On August 13, Google bought Frommer’s for $23 million. Frommer’s is a 55-year- old travel guidebook, primarily in print. They also have a travel guide website.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  2. 2. Frommer’s to be combined with Zagat. Frommer’s had 70 employees. Google laid off the entire Frommer’s website team. Remaining Frommer’s staff moved to Zagat floor at Google HQ in NYC.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  3. 3. Google won’t say why they bought. Speculation: Google bought Frommer’s to round-out travel related information discovered on Google search that ties in with their Hotel Finder, Flight Search and Google Local products.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  4. 4. This is part of Google’s aggressive foray into the travel and hospitality industries.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  5. 5. 2010: Google purchases ITA Software for $700 million. ITA Software was an airline shopper & price system. Google incorporated this acquisition into it’s Google Flight product, which organizes flight information.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  6. 6. 2010: Google purchases Ruba for an undisclosed amount. Ruba was a visual tour guide and travel review site. The former Ruba team has been working on Google Local.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  7. 7. 2012: Google purchases Zagat for $151 million. Zagat was a paid review service. Google made Zagat free and incorporated their ratings into their Google Local search results.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  8. 8. Many travel and technology companies are unhappy with Google’s purchase of Frommer’s. “Google is abusing its already dominant position in search which will lead to devastating effects on the online economy.” -Expedia, Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Kayak and others.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  9. 9. Interestingly, Frommer’ s data was used by Expedia for its and properties, and by Microsoft for its MSN Travel property, before this acquisition. Will this mean they no longer have access to Frommer’s data?8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  10. 10. Frommer’s data does not rank well. Frommer’s results appeared in only .01% of 35,000 travel related search inquiries. Instead, Frommer’s is a print-first publisher, meaning it has lots of high-quality travel content offline, waiting to be put online.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  11. 11. Speculation: Google bought Frommer’s to gain more professional content curation for its travel products, adding high quality content to its knowledge graph, making Google Flights, Google Local, Google Now for Android and Hotel Finder more compelling, which could potentially lead to more travel related business made from within Google Search instead of online travel agencies.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.
  12. 12. Key Takeaways: • Google wants Google Search to be a destination for travel-related inquiries AND purchases. • It will be even more important for hotels to have a strong online presence on Google Search in the years to come.8.27.12 buuteeq, inc.