Saturday, April 21, 2007

Froogle grows up - new opportunities for travel?

Google relaunched its five-year-old Froogle tool this week, with the far more official sounding name Google Product Search.

[Google announcement]

Clearly Google has decided that there is more mileage in the product (unlike it's Answers tool, which it dumped last year after the storming success of Yahoo Answers), and there could - only could, at this stage - be some interesting developments for travel brands.

It will be interesting to see whether a reinvigorated Froogle Google Product Search will now become more attractive to the sector.

At present there is plenty of travel content available to consumers, uploaded by advertisers onto the Google Base system. It consists mainly of hotel rooms.

What GPS does have is completely unbiased results. Companies do not pay for inclusion via Base - it is, some might argue, the perfect price comparison site.

The enhanced is integrating the search giant's other great hope for the future - Google Checkout.

But at this stage, given the sheer quantity of travel content available on meta search engines, it seems remarkable that consumers would see Froogle as a viable alternative.

Let's see how things go...

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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