Google buys Frommer’s travel guides

Published Aug 14, 2012 10:27am

Google planned to add Frommer’s travel expertise to its “Local” offerings at the Google+ social network, where users can search for specific places or browse for nearby businesses or services.—Reuters Photo

SAN FRANCISCO: US publishing house John Wiley & Sons said Monday it is selling all of its travel assets - including the well known Frommer’s brand - to Internet titan Google.

The New Jersey-based company did not specify the financial terms of the deal, which it said was inked Friday.

“Wiley entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of its travel assets, including all of its interests in the Frommer’s brand, to Google,” it said in a statement.

Google planned to add Frommer’s travel expertise to its “Local” offerings at the Google+ social network, where users can search for specific places or browse for nearby businesses or services.

“The Frommer’s team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team,” a Google spokeswoman told AFP.

“We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.” Google added the Zagat restaurant review content to its Google+ social network in May, as it rolled out a new local search feature that takes on services such as Yelp.

The Internet giant has been ramping up services that help people merge their online and offline worlds, particularly with the help of smartphones or tablets, by using Internet resources to connect with real-world places, offers or events.

Google bought the popular Zagat review operations last year for a reported $125 million and then made content free.

US online travel sales are expected to reach $119.2 billion this year, up from $107.4 billion in 2011, according to industry tracker eMarketer.

By 2016, travel sales booked online will reach $151.9 billion, eMarketer predicted.

The amount of money spent on online advertising by the US travel and leisure industry was on pace to grow 23.3 per cent to $3.16 billion this year, according to eMarketer.

Wiley announced in March that it planned to sell consumer print and digital assets including travel, cooking, pets, crafts, Webster’s and CliffsNotes because they “no longer align with the company’s long-term business strategy.”

“Proceeds from this sale, and others that may arise from the sale of other consumer assets, will be redeployed to support growth opportunities in professional/trade; scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly; and global education businesses.”


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