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Why the Google-Frommer's Deal Matters

The line of travel guides gives Google access to a trove of consumer-focused content.

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Google already knows where you are. Now, it seems, it wants to tell you where to go next.

One year after buying restaurant and hotel review Zagat Survey, the search giant is buying Frommer's, a line of travel guidebooks, from publishing house John Wiley & Sons. Financial terms of the deal, which Reuters says is expected to close soon, are not being disclosed--although the New York Times puts the price at $23 million.

Even without a concrete price tag, however, the deal shows the increasing focus being placed on digital content: The Frommer's deal would bring Google a trove of data on restaurants, hotels, and attractions from around the world, with 350 titles that cover attractions at more than 4,000 tourist destinations.

Zagat listings are already integrated into Google Maps and search results; a Google spokeswoman told Reuters that Frommer's and Zagat content would eventually be integrated together

CNET notes that with the Frommer's deal, other local content providers like "Yelp, TripAdvisor and other competitors can become less prominent in Google's search universe."

(Google was actually in talks to acquire Yelp for $500 million a few years ago, but the deal never came together.)

The deal also gives Google another foothold in the travel industry. On July 1, 2010, Google bought flight information company ITA Software in a move aimed at making it easier for users to shop for flights online. Internet market research firm eMarketer predicts online travel sales to reach $119.2 billion this year, an 11% increase from 2011.

IMAGE: Flickr/brionv
Last updated: Aug 14, 2012

JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com.
@J_M_McDermott




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