The new Google travel ecosystem… from the user point of view

Back in July 2010, when Google said it was splashing out $700 million on air search and shopping tech provider ITA Software, officials  put together a handy diagram.

The online travel ecosystem, as it was called, outlined where Google’s latest acquisition sat in the world of travel distribution and was produced in part to demonstrate to US regulators that despite it suddenly making a serious move on the world of travel, other providers remained and were apparently plentiful.

The chart (which was actually quietly updated from an original version to keep some of the newbies happy) became a visual cornerstone for Google as it found itself under investigation by the Department of Justice for the next nine or so months.

The DoJ eventually found (mostly) in favour of Google over potential regulatory concerns and gave the search giant the thumbs-up to complete the acquisition.

From an industry perspective there is still a fair amount of head-scratching as to what Google is doing and how well it is doing it on the product search side of its travel strategy.

But as the recent Frommer’s acquisition demonstrated even further, there are probably larger ambitions in play now as Google looks to become a one-stop-shop for not only product search but anything to do with the process of gathering information about travel and destinations.

The folk over at Travopia have taken an alternative view of the ecosystem chart and outlined how it now looks from the front-end user’s perspective.

In this form it is easy to see how so many of the constituent parts there now are in the process of searching, shopping, buying and sharing travel through Google and its various properties.

It doesn’t need to be called Troogle or anything like that – it’s all there in both obvious and subtle ways. And the ecosystem will no doubt have further editions to its climate plumbing in due course.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Carl Kim

    Devil is in the detail – it’s in the details of that diagram where the fight will be won – i.e. it’s the cumulative victories of battles that will win the war. For example, the first part of the above diagram ‘Trip Search & Planning’ – that’s a given, but the real interest spiked when Frommer’s & Zagat were acquired, i.e. HOW Google will be involved in Trip Search & Planning, not simply that Google will. My view is still that Google is good (great) at surfacing existing content or getting into transactional stuff (flights), so we (the rest of the industry) need to focus on value-add in order to differentiate from the ‘commodities’. I think ‘value-add’ is definitely coming to the foreground – one example is aggregation (‘here is everything’) turning into curatorship (‘here is only what I think is worthwhile’).

  2. Wouter Blok

    Surely they’re working hard to connect the dots with Google Now. Mentionworthy seperately from Maps is Streetview, which plays a growing role in the inspirational and planning fase. Not only to check the actual view from your room, but also to see Machu Pichu or other famous landmarks. An increasing amount of buildings are shot from the inside aswell.

  3. Humphrey Ng

    I would also add Google Latitude to keep track of where I had been.
    and Google Voice to book hotel or call home during the trip.

  4. David Thomson

    I think they forgot about Schemer which covers trip itinerary manager and most below it. Zagat on planning and during trip as well.


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