Almost a year ago, former Google executive Marissa Mayer struck a deal to purchase the user review-based Zagat brand.
Today, Google confirmed it's expanding its travel content library by acquiring the Frommer's brand of travel guidebooks and related assets from US publisher John Wiley & Sons, while Mayer, of course, has struck a different big deal for herself.
The Frommer's deal will beef up the Google+ Local platform, which now incorporates Zagat restaurant reviews, with Frommers-curated lists such as "Best National Parks of the Pacific Northwest" and other travel resources.
Why buy rather than partner? Zagat, for starters, can't do it all alone — while Google has big plans in the travel space.
As the official Google blog noted in May, "Since Zagat joined the Google family last fall, our teams have been working together to improve the way you find great local information. Zagat has offered high-quality reviews, based on user-written submissions and surveys, of tens of thousands of places for more than three decades. All of Zagat’s accurate scores and summaries are now highlighted on local Google+ pages."
Frommer's vast archive of content, much of it evergreen, will enhance that resource in a bid to make Google a one-stop travel advisor. "I couldn’t be more delighted. The energy, resources, and talent of the Google team will allow the Frommer’s brand to reach new levels of popularity," Frommer's founder Arthur Frommer told Skift.com, which notes that Google picked up ITA Software last year for its airline flight and pricing database. As Google itself noted, "How cool would it be if you could type 'flights to somewhere sunny for under $500 in May' into Google and get not just a set of links but also flight times, fares and a link to sites where you can actually buy tickets quickly and easily?"
"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 at Google, told the Wall Street Journal, which added that "Google hasn't yet decided whether the Frommer's guidebooks will continue to be published in print or whether they will eventually migrate entirely to online. It is also possible that the Frommer's brand could be melded into the Zagat brand."
Wiley, meanwhile, stated in a press release that it's looking to sell other non-core brands including CliffsNotes and Webster’s New World series of reference books as the 212-year-old publisher seeks to shore up its other long-term interests.