The focus will first be on today’s news: Google will shut down its Google Trips app in August of this year.
The search giant quietly updated the app’s help page this week to reveal that support for the product will end after nearly three years in the market.
The app was available for iOS and Android smartphone users and was seen as a further step in its ambitions to organize itineraries and keep travelers within the Google ecosystem when they are on the road.
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It brought together content from the web and users into one service, giving them destination information and listings for their upcoming trips and reservations by adding flight and hotel booking details from Gmail and Google Calendar.
Google said little about the shutdown, with an official email note: “We’re moving the Google Trips experience from a standalone app to an integrated part of travel planning on Google. Now travelers can plan. more easily their trips on Search and Maps., where they already look for travel information.
What he did was direct app users to his Google.com/voyage area – a web platform (also optimized for mobile) that has developed in a fragmented way over the years, but is now a substantial service in its own right.
The functionality of Trips (content and future user reservations) is available in Google search and Google Maps, he says.
Upcoming and previous reservations are now included in Google.com/travel, and users will soon be able to edit details there, as well as save ideas for things to do, attractions, and more.
Mix the chairs, not on the Titanic
Switching to a single home for everything involved in travel, including shutting down the standalone app, shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Last month, Google vice president for product management at Google Travel, Richard Holden, Taught users about a number of features of Google.com/travel and made no mention of the existing Trips app.
The central platform now includes trip details (past and future), destination content (articles, videos, recommendations, reviews), flight search, hotel search and package search.
Notable items missing (at this time) are ground transportation research (car rental, ridesharing and more), cruises, and tours and activities – the latter of which are currently provided through the Google Touring Bird branch.
Any industry watchers who hope the Trips shutdown is some sort of drag on Google’s travel strategy will be disappointed.
On the contrary, in fact.
Closing the app allows Google to focus on a web service without needing updates for a standalone app (although there will be updates to the Google Maps app, for example) and the possibility of collecting the data of a user for reservations not limited to that held on a smartphone.
While branding is rarely considered when it comes to Google, at least in terms of name recognition, having everything under one roof (Google Travel, rather than Google Travel and an app called Trips) will help channel users to one place for research, travel product purchases, route management and information.
Nonetheless, all functionality will also be featured in Maps and Search, giving users the ability to access all data-driven services across multiple channels alongside Google Travel.
Google’s refinement of its travel strategy, at least from a front-user perspective, may not have immediate consequences for the industry.
But what it can do is also sharpen the opinions of those (especially those like Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, who collectively spent $ 10.6 billion on digital marketing in 2018) who continue to question their ability to fund a brand that actively competes with them. .
* Check out a selection of video interviews from the past nine months below.
Thijs Van As, Senior Product Manager for Google Flights, speaking at Phocuswright Europe 2019:
Tech Talk: Google – Thijs Van As – Phocuswright Europe 2019
Former CarTrawler CTO Bobby Healy (AKA reviewer) in-depth analysis of Google’s continued involvement in the travel industry, also recorded during Phocuswright Europe 2019:
PhocusWire @ Phocuswright Europe 2019 – Rethinking Google’s entry into travel
Holden’s mainstage appearance at the 2018 Phocuswright talk in Los Angeles:
Management interview: Google