Google acquires paper-based travel guidebooks to enhance travel, local-related services

August 14, 2012
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A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single flick of a touchscreen. (Street signs / Shutterstock)

Google is known for its products that help the connected traveler navigate. Whether it’s the concrete jungle or actual jungle, you have apps like Google Maps and Google Transit, which have integrated local services that are also location-aware. For armchair tourists out there, there’s also Google Earth and Google Street View, which offer a view of various locales without even leaving your desk. Business View also lets users check out the interior of notable establishments through a 360-degree interface.

But in the olden days, before customer-review sites like TripAdvisor, there were actual books published that would-be-travelers can check out before going on a holiday (oh, wait–there still are). It seems Google wants to go for a bit of nostalgia, and has announced plans to acquire Frommer’s line of travel guidebooks.

The aim is ultimately to beef up Google’s already massive content base. It’s not enough to just point interested users toward other websites and apps that offer local-oriented services. With its acquisition of travel guidebook material, Google can incorporate additional quality photos and reviews of hotels, dining establishments and sights around the world.

Frommer’s has amassed quite a collection of information in its 55 years of existence. This may also help Google in achieving their aim of brokering commercial transactions between online users and local businesses. To this end, Google has previously acquired other services that are locale-focused, such as Zagat. The company has actually announced plans to integrate Frommer’s content with Zagat.

Google will continue to offer reviews and listings under the Frommer’s brand, though. There is no word whether Google plans to continue publishing the hard-copy version. Neither Google nor erstwhile Frommer’s owner, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., would disclose financial details.

For mobile users, this means that more content will be accessible when we do establishment searches on Google Maps, which may include photos and expert reviews. Google ultimately wants to connect users with business establishments, so perhaps we can reserve a table straight from the Google search results page in the near future.

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