Google has acquired the Frommer’s travel guides in a move which is likely to impact the online listings of travel and tourism operators in Australia.
Frommer’s is a travel guide series based in the United States which dates back to 1957, when the founder, Arthur Frommer, published Europe on Five Dollars a Day.
The purchase signals Google’s growing focus on providing content rather than just web searches.
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The Frommer’s deal follows the internet giant’s recent acquisition of restaurant guide Zagat, whose reviews and ratings have been incorporated into Google+ local business listings.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Frommer’s brand will be melded with the Zagat brand under the terms of the deal estimated to be worth $25 million.
Frommer’s content about local businesses around the world, including in Australia, could provide added content to Google+ business listings where both Zagat ratings and individual customer reviews are displayed and Google Maps.
The deal has been announced on the Frommer’s website and in a statement from Frommer’s publisher John Wiley & Sons.
“We are thrilled to announce that we will soon be part of Google”, the Frommer’s website states.
“We can’t wait to start working with our new Google colleagues to start bringing our content to an even larger audience.”
By owning Frommer’s content and showing it in search results, Google could sell travel-related ads against it and provide more tools for booking travel arrangements.
The Zagat and Frommer’s acquisitions position Google as an alternative to guides for travel and business information like TripAdvisor.com and Urbanspoon, which use expert ratings and aggregated online comments from thousands of customers.
Jean Ow-Yeong, spokesperson for TripAdvisor, told SmartCompany Google’s acquisition would offer limited competition for the website.
“Google can buy a travel guidebook company, but they can’t buy a community of millions of travelers,” she says.
“The reviews and opinions we have on TripAdvisor (we just announced hitting the milestone of 75 million reviews and opinions) is more than you would find in all the world’s travel guidebooks combined.
“Plus, guidebooks are published once a year, whereas on TripAdvisor, 50 new pieces of travel advice are posted every minute.”
Google and Tourism Australia declined to comment on the deal.