Frommer’s may have a well-known name, but the buy is only costing Google a reported $23 million — or basically nothing in Google terms. The property will be absorbed into Zagat, whichreportedly cost all of $125 million.
What’s slightly different about the Frommer’s deal is that the travel guidebook creator had an editorial team to write its content, whereas Zagat was perhaps one of the first user-generated content services.
But if you look at the language Google is now using, it’s grouping all this local and travel content as “reviews.” Google said the Frommer’s deal will help it fill in reviews for venues all over the world.
The reason Google wants to bring this particular type of content in-house? Search is increasingly about answers — at least as long as those European regulators don’t get in the way.
That’s especially true on mobile. When you’re traveling and you just want to find a good restaurant nearby, you don’t want to scroll through links. You want a paragraph that tells you where to go and what to order.
Google has put years of work into a “Knowledge Graph” that slurps content from Wikipedia and elsewhere into at-a-glance guides to all sorts of topics that show up on the search page to save users the trouble of clicking through. Well, guess what? Google needs content to fill up those little Knowledge Graph boxes.
This is particularly relevant for travel, a rich category where people actually spend money. Looking for travel content has long been one of the worst Google experiences, due to all the search-engine-optimized crap that pushes its way to the top.
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i'm the leftist liberal you've been warned about - the one who genuinely supports the expansion of the welfare state. i love politics and data and graffiti and street art and am far too lazy to use my shift key. if you need to reach me, you can email to abbyjean at the google email service.