Monday, April 17, 2006

Google Travel speculation

Some media outlets picked up as news speculation in Russell Shaw's Znet blog that Google intends to enter the travel booking market and partner with Orbitz. This story demonstrates a number of interesting trends. First how a blog can generate a "news story". The basis for Mr. Shaw's speculation concerns a job posting for a "Senior Account Executive Travel Vertical". I am amazed that Mr. Shaw would draw broad conclusions from this job posting considering the fact that Google has had similar postings on the Web for the last two years. This job posting is nothing more than an advertisement for a sales representative to target potential travel advertisers based in Chicago. To take this job listing and speculate that Google will now enter the travel reservation business with Orbitz is not only a wild jump in logic, but demonstrates how educated tech writers are not necessarily educated in the nuances of the travel industry. Don't get me wrong, I do suspect that Google is considering some sort of travel vertical initiative, but to use this job posting as evidence shows that the writer lacks an understanding of Google's current travel industry positioning. I would more accurately speculate that when Google does make its move into the travel industry it will leverage its core search capabilities to drill deep into travel Web sites, allowing more effective comparative shopping. A more logical observation from Mr. Shaw should have concerned the Google capability to search multiple travel sites when you enter a city pair (e.g. San Francisco New York) into the search engine. This feature was introduced in 2005, something Mr. Shaw doesn't even mention in his blog.

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