Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A starting Base for Troogle

It appears, perhaps disappointingly, the commotion over Troogle has died down a little in recent weeks.

[Read our most recent Troogle post]

Whether or not this is due to us hacks getting the wrong end of a long and complicated stick remains to be seen. But certainly the industry seemed to get its collective knickers in a twist over it all about a month ago.

At least two industry figures, with more than a passing interest in the Troogle issue, reported back on conversations they have had with Google. They inevitably found themselves being greeted with a stony silence whenever the dreaded T-word was mentioned.

Last week, Thomson online guru Graham Donoghue even made mention of the recent furore – jokingly referencing “some of you in the room” as conspirators in the recent speculation – when he spoke briefly about Google and its future position in the world of online travel.

But, right on cue, PING! The Travolution Blog’s most prolific respondent Alex Bainbridge from Travel UCD, writes with a curious theory of his own.

Google Base, the place where you can “put stuff on Google”, could be a taster for a Troogle-style product, he argues.

The format for Base, which is in an early Beta mode, allows Google members to sell products. It can also be used as an information portal.

Google Base allows feeds into the system for automatically uploading of “items”, such as travel excursions and packages, with a start and end date, location and other details. The sale of individual flights and hotels is currently banned the system.

Alex’s hypothesis is that Google could be testing how travel feeds work on the Base system before eventually rolling it out onto the larger, more robust Troogle platform.

He smells mischief in the air.

[Read Alex’s original post]

In the spirit of research, of course, we are in the process of putting the Travolution brand on Google Base. More to follow…

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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