Google announced this week that it has acquired well known and respected travel company, Frommer’s, from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Google will bring together the Frommer’s brand with the Zagat brand to expand the power of its Google+ Local listings. Zagat was acquired by Google in September 2011.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by either party, but it is believed that Google will pay between $20 and $25 million for the Frommer’s brand. This investment will provide Google with access to the complete portfolio of Frommer’s assets including the online site, Frommers.com, all guidebook content and mobile apps.
The Frommer’s content is especially valuable for Google who needs user-generated content for its Google+ site. Over the past few years, Google tried populating its Google Places site, the precursor to Google+, with content from Yelp and TripAdvisor. Both sites balked at their reviews being used and removed their content from Google Places forcing Google to develop new strategies for user-generated content.
In March 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Inc announced the intention to “explore opportunities to sell a number of its consumer print and digital publishing assets…” Enter Google. By uniting Zagat’s restaurant and Frommer’s travel reviews, Google+ Local will become a robust location for consumers looking for information and ratings on where to go, what to do, where to stay, and where to eat. According to Google, their goal is to “provide a review of every relevant place in the world.”
This acquisition is one more way that Google seems to be transitioning itself into a media company. It also shows the importance of local search and reviews to consumers and businesses.
For now we will wait and watch. Where will Google go next?