With the acquisition of Frommers Travel Guides from John Wiley and Sons (announced August 13th), Google is increasing its commitment to travel and travel content. The purchase highlights the critical role of information and content in the global $3 trillion plus travel and tourism industry and positions Google as a fuller travel media company - creating, facilitating, curating and distributing content. The acquisition for a reported $23 million ( New York Times) builds on their Zagat purchase earlier this year.
Both acquisitions indicate that Google is seeking greater strategic leverage beyond simply monetizing other publisher's content (via paid search or display). Google is actively seeking to integrate travel content with other Google services - especially, local search and Google Places, mapping solutions and perhaps YouTube video.
Google's new travel search functionality leverages the ITA software acquired last year, and combined these investments position the company more strongly against specialist travel media and review companies, notably TripAdvisor and Yelp.
For More Analysis: See the New York Times Blog: Media Decoder.