Google I/O 2013: Google positions its pawns on the travel chessboard
Google's highly anticipated annual conference in San Francisco, Google I/O 2013 , took place over the past week. New features of all kinds have been unveiled: the revised functionalities of Google Maps, the demonstration of Google Glass which will be available in 2014, etc.
Two innovations stood out from the pack in terms of their impact on the field of travel: search by voice command and the new Google Maps interface . What impact will these novelties have on the travel sector? This is what we will see in this article.
1. OK GOOGLE: SEARCH BY VOICE COMMAND TO FACILITATE TRIP PLANNING
Johanna Wright , VP search & as sist Android at Google, demonstrated the use of Google's voice search by presenting an example of planning a family trip to Santa Cruz. By saying only the words OK Google , it is possible to do elaborate searches in Google without even touching your keyboard once.
Johanna Wright gave several demonstrations of voice search to plan her trip asking Google to:
- find the most popular attractions in the destination Santa Cruz;
- find photos of an attraction for inspiration;
- find the time needed to drive to the attraction from its current location;
- find a seafood restaurant near the attraction;
With an ultra-simplified query 'OK Google, how far is it from here?' , Google submits a route including the time needed to get there by car . I invite you to consult the complete demonstration here:
2. NEW GOOGLE MAPS INTERFACE TO MAKE IT EASIER TO FIND TRAVEL AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
The new Google Maps interface also offers several possibilities to better plan your choice of attractions / restaurants during a trip. It allows, among other things:
- to discover locations similar to our search;
- add a location to your favorites and rate it;
- to use a full-screen interface, much easier to consult;
- refinement of search results/suggestions the greater the use;
- an integration of photos and videos of the place;
- a multi-modal travel itinerary (U.S. only for now) showing the route and time needed to get from point A to point B using different means of transport (e.g. plane and train, plane and ferry, etc.) [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THxJHcR1D2c[/youtube]
3. WHAT IS THE IMPACT FOR THE TRAVEL SECTOR?
Obviously, these two new features from Google will strengthen Google's significant weight in the travel sector. As I already discussed 2 years ago in my article Google and online travel, don't be evil? , it seems that the travel giant wants to strengthen its One stop shop positioning for travel information research .
Considering that 80% of user searches in the travel industry start with Google , it's no wonder to see these improvements from the giant. Google 's Knowledge Graph is becoming more and more semantically powerful and makes it possible to have this refinement in the data at the service of the user…and of course of Google!
Given that 96% of Google's revenue comes from the sale of Google Adwords online advertising , tourism businesses will benefit from being present and well positioned in these search results of the new and improved version of Google Maps and Google Search. The investment in local referencing will therefore not be neglected with, in particular, an optimized presence on Google Places and on travel sites such as Booking , Trip Advisor and Expedia (which would seem to be better positioned in the search results of Google Hotel Finder ).
Perhaps Google will decide to sell advertising on Google Maps, Google Hotel Finder or even Google Flights? Perhaps we will see a migration of traffic from destination sites to Google? Only the future will tell us. And you what do you think?