Is Google Travel the next to launch?

Just posted something to my Globe and Mail blog about Google’s possible entry into the travel game, which stemmed from a recent post by Russell Shaw over at ZDNet. Seems he noticed an ad on mediabistro.com for “Google: Senior Account Executive, Travel Vertical.” Among other things, it said that the successful applicant would:

“Drive new business revenue growth with our Fortune 1000 advertisers in a specified vertical in one or more regions… work collaboratively with your team to grow revenue with new and existing vertical customers [and] utilize strong knowledge of vertical client base and agencies in your region(s) to develop high-level relationships.”

One former travel industry insider told me recently that he figured it was only a matter of time before Google got into the travel game, since it is a classic example of a business in which timely information is the key to getting a good deal — and one in which the travel agents and airlines used to control the information flow. Expedia.com and Travelocity.com helped “disintermediate” the industry, and in a sense the entry of Google would just extend that process even further.

“A lot of the value that a reseller adds is shopping around for the best deal, which is to a large extent search — and Google can search the pants off just about anybody,” said this former travel exec. For Google, being a search-engine company doesn’t just mean helping people find websites. It wants to help you find just about any kind of information, anywhere — including in books and real estate.

Against that kind of backdrop, searching for flights and hotels seems like a no-brainer, and Yahoo is already moving in that area with its FareChase service (which the NYT has an article about). Russell says that he thinks Google might strike up a partnership with Orbitz, since Travelocity is partners with Yahoo Travel and Expedia is owned by Barry Diller’s Interactive Corp., which also owns Ask.com.

Update:

My friend Stuart MacDonald, an ex-travel guy himself, has these thoughts.

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