Google gets Frommer’s
Just another day, really, in a billion-dollar company’s life. Yesterday the Googs tapped a few coins out of the water jug where it saves pocket change and plunked down a reported $23 million for Frommer’s, the long-standing trusted name in travel guides. You might remember a similar amount ($22.5 million) Google was ordered to pay earlier this week by the Federal Trade Commission to settle a breach of privacy. The pizza party that Google honchos are planning to throw next week for co-founder Sergey Brin’s 39th birthday - that’s going to be bananas expensive. The next five generations of Chuck E. Cheese’s offspring will be going to college on Google’s dime. PARRRTAAAAY!
The deal will meld the 55-year-old travel publisher's deep database of hotels and sights into a search giant that is seeking to position its services across the entire trip-planning process, from searching for a holiday destination and looking up hotel reviews to booking tours and restaurants in far-flung cities.
Google hasn’t said yet how it plans to use Frommer’s, but one can see how incorporating the kind of reviews and travel information, which you used to have to pay for in book form, might attract advertisers.
Fairness concerns are already being raised by online travel sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. They’re worried that people looking into travel using a Google search might be directed to one of Google’s products, thus making the Big G more attractive to advertisers. Yelp has already been... well yelping about the purchase restaurant review stalwarts Zagat that Google made last year.