Google will buy the Frommer's travel guide brand from publishers John Wiley & Sons, in a move that will bolster its position in the travel business. The deal is expected to close shortly for an undisclosed price, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Google hasn’t decided yet whether the Frommer's guidebooks will continue to be published in print or whether they will eventually migrate entirely to online.
For those unfamiliar with Frommer’s, its one of the best selling travel guides in the world, ranking popular landmarks and sights for thousands of destinations, as well as offering recommendations for local hotels, restaurants and more.
The brand is expected to complement last year’s $151 million acquisition of Zagat, which also provides local food and entertainment recommendations and plays a central role in Google+ Local.
“Our commitment is to keep things as they are today and once we combine operations, we'll know better what the future looks like,” said Bernardo Hernandez, Zagat's managing director of product management, in an interview. “When you add information you can trust to phone numbers and addresses as part of the Google search experience, it enables users to convert their intentions into actions.”
The acquisition highlights how the search giant is looking to buy or build content and services rather than partner with established players, like Apple is doing with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and others. Last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster speculated that Apple could integrate with Groupon, LivingSocial, PayPal and others going forward to tackle equivalent services from Google.